After close to six years the state owned mill ,Sony sugar operating without routine maintenance that has also contributed heavily on its low production, Sony sugar farmers and locals have acquired a pay bill number that will enable them source funds from well-wishers globally to bring the mill back to its knees. The farmers who held a meeting in Awendo town said they have saddened by the government’s failure to revive the miller despite numerous promises and said they had initiated the process of contributing funds to bail out the company, calling on President Uhuru to expeditiously act on the sugar task force report and bail the company which is in the verge of collapse.
“We have come up with the program to help in maintenance of the mill which has not been effected for the last five years,” said Odondi Omollo
The angry farmers faulted Nyanza leaders especially those from the sugar belt for having not factored in the issue of sugarcane farmers and also the collapsing Sony Sugar when they were presenting Nyanza counties’s proposals in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI)
“What is the use of the BBI to cane farmers if it does not capture our plight? We will not support the initiative unless our issues are tackled,” said Argwings Odongo, the Awendo branch secretary general.
Currently, Sony Sugar requires at least Ksh. 500 million to effectively maintain its machines which have not been serviced for the last five years, the management has said. The company whose future appears bleak has been riddled by a myraid of challenges ranging from frequent breakdowns of it’s crusher,unpaid dues to staffs and farmers and the recent closure of its bank accounts at cooperative bank.
According Stephen Ligawa, acting managing Director, the Company is currently crushing less than 10000 tonnes installed capacity and the management lost ksh.2.3 billion between 2011 to april 2018 due to cane poaching which has cut back their daily production by close to 60 percent. Adding that the trend has grossly affected its production capacity, making it hard to give farmers their sweat
Mr. Ligawa warned that the plant risked collapsing if drastic measures of partial or full maintenance was not done to enable the factory process more tonnes of cane.
The MD revealed that the company desperately needs close to Sh 500 million to do thorough maintenance of the plant for its smooth continuity. Adding that the company had written to the County Government of Migori requesting Shs 210 million loan for its half machine maintenance but they are yet to receive feedback.