As Kenyan authorities hand over special license to select individuals to import 100,200 tonnes of sugar while shutting down local manufacturers, entire communities and economies surrounding the sugar factories are crumbling.
Residents in Busia County say business has almost collapsed since the factories were shut down for four months to tackle harvesting of immature cane as sugarcane shortage bites.
Merchant businesses, retail, and hotel proprietors around Olepito factory and Busia factory say business has ground to a halt after factory workers, who earn some disposable income left for their rural homes leaving behind jobless locals with limited capacity to make purchases.
The exit of the employees has left rental properties vacant crippling local economies that are already reeling from lack of cane sales.
Locals say the current cane shortage crisis has been cause d by poaching, a practice where private factories buy sugarcane from famers without investing in its production.
This has discouraged investments in inputs and cultivation eventually affecting production that has left the entire industry struggling to find cane for crushing.
The prolonged drought has also hit production leading to a severe shortage that has coincided with global shortfalls that is driving prices of the commodity through the roof.
Sugar prices have hit a high of Kes490 per 2-kilogramme while a kilogramme is retailing for as much as Kes250.
You can read the Original Story in Swahili below:
Hatua ya kufungwa kwa viwanda vya miwa eneo la magharibi kutokana na uhaba wa miwa kumeathiri pakubwa biashara katika maeneo yalio karibu na viwanda hivyo.
Katika kaunti ya Busia, wafanyibiashara katika maeneo yalio karibu na viwanda vya miwa vya Olepito na Busia sugar wameripoti kudidia kwa biashara zao baada ya kufungwa kwa viwanda hivyo na mamlaka ya kilimo na vyakula AFA kwa muda wa miezi minne.
Wauzaji wa bidhaa kwenye maduka na pia hoteli wanasema biashara zao zimeshuka baada ya wafanyikazi wengi wa viwanda hivyo kurejea makwao, huku wachache walio salia wakiwa hawana uwezo wa kifedha kununua bidhaa hizo.
Wenye nyumba za kupangisha pia wameripoti kupoteza wateja, huku nyumba zao zikisalia tupu.
Aidha wakulima wa miwa kutoka kaunti hiyo wakiongozwa na Steve Orachi na Wycliffe Opiyo wameunga mkono matamshi ya rais William Ruto kuwa wizi wa miwa ambao umekuwa ukiuendelezwa na baadhi ya viwanda umechangia pakubwa kutokea kwa uhaba wa miwa.
Sasa wanaitaka mamlaka ya AFA kuajibika na kuhakikisha kuwa hakuna kiwanda kitakachoruhusiwa kusaga miwa bila ya kukuza miwa yake kwanza ili kuzuia wizi wa miwa ya viwanda vingine.