Sugarcane stakeholders drawn from the Nyando sugar belt have rejected a proposal by the national government to merge Chemelil and Muhoroni sugar companies into one in the wake of reforms in the sector.

The stakeholders who made a stand before appearing before the National Assembly committees on finances and national planning and agriculture and livestock said they will not engage in any talks on merger.

Muhoroni MP Onyango Koyoo who led the stakeholders in a meeting said they will vehemently oppose any attempts to merge the two state mills.

“We have categorically rejected any plans to have the two factories merged into one,” said the MP.

Koyoo said there is no point at hand to push the government to merge the two mills.

He noted that in the past, the mills were working efficiently and the problem at hand is the dilapidated machines, which in turn slow the production.

“The government should find a solution by purchasing new machines and not hiding behind the merger of the mills,” he said.

The MP noted that farmers will not allow the two mills to be merged, noting that most of the land meant for cane nucleus growing was grabbed.

“If it is about lack of enough land for the mills which is necessitating the merger proposal then the farmers are appealing to the government to repossess all grabbed land in the area,” he added.

Noah Opiyo, secretary Kenya National Federation of sugarcane Framers Muhoroni branch blamed the government for laxity in enforcement.

Opiyo says many factories have been established with no adequate cane to run them, while the government allows them to do so in a bid to frustrate the sector.

“We have seen weighbridges coming up everywhere, some very near to the government mills, this is unfair competition. Let the installation of weighbridges be regulated,” he said.

The farmers asked the government to include them in the leasing process while demanding that only the factories will be leased and not the land.

“We will oppose leasing of the factories plus the land, because tomorrow the leaser can stop crushing cane and venture into dairy farming,” said John Kipngetich, a farmer in the Miwani area.

The MP further asked President William Ruto to make a decree on court cases on Miwani land.

“The farmers felt that President Ruto should do the same thing he did for Mumias sugar company, we have a case on Miwani land in court, we want that pulled out,” he said.

By Fred Odanga Azelwa.