By Wezzie Gausi:
Sugarcane growers selling their produce to Salima Sugar Company have lamented low prices the commodity is fetching this year.
One of the small-scale farmers Noel Mateyo said Salima Sugar Company is buying Sugar cane at as low as K27,000 per tonne which is lower than last year.
Mateyo said the farmers, through their association, have 60,000 metric tonnes (mt) of sugarcane but the company says it will only buy 30,000 (mt) this season.
“We have been hit hard with the lowering of the prices this year. Worse still, part of the sugarcane we have is going to be wasted as Salima Sugar says they are only buying half of what we have,” Mateyo said.
Salima Sugar Company Secretary Charles Thupi said the cane price was determined after extensive consultations spanning over three weeks between March 2021 and April 2021 between farmers, farmers associations, Green Belt Authority, the Ministry of Agriculture and Salima Sugar Company.
He said a meeting chaired by the government, through the Principal Secretary for Irrigation, concluded the terms of agreement.
“The Ministry of Agriculture conveyed the agreed price to all stakeholders through a Memorandum of Notification dated April 20, 2021. In fact, the associations themselves negotiated a consolidated price inclusive of all these activities,” Thupi said.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Sandram Maweru said the price of cane was negotiated with the leadership of farmers and the build up to that price was clearly accepted.
“The question of an imposition should not arise because there was a meeting that the taskforce had and agreed on the price,” Maweru said.