AFA bets on sugar sector regulations to streamline industry

Cane producers, harvesters and transporters will soon be included in a single government registry.

This as the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) moves in to register all sugar sector stakeholders in a move aimed at combating rampant cane poaching under its new draft regulations for the sector.

Sugar millers will also be included in the new registry with the authority requiring a fresh licensing regime for the processors based on the firms’ processing capabilities and geographical operation zone.

Runaway cane poaching has remained a thorn in the flesh of sugar production in the country even as the under supply of cane bites hard in the key sugar growing areas of Western Kenya.

The shrinking stock of cane has resulted in the undue scramble for the resource amongst millers with no due regulation to govern the rush in a costly affair which has been linked to the closure of several sugar processors.

AFA hopes to have the regulations impact positively on overall sugar production in the country as part of the body’s concerted efforts to revitalize the once thriving economic sub-sector.

“The regulations will lead to a more vibrant sugar industry with the attendant increase in economic activities of the farmers, millers, employees and contractors in the sector. The enforcement of the regulations will result in the economic and social empowerment of the people,” read part of AFA’s impact statement for the proposed regulations.

The proposed regulations will also incorporate the establishment of technologists associations to provide technical input in cane farming to better yields.

This in response to other prevailing challenges for the industry which include the inadequate generation of research outputs and a narrow range of product diversification.

Regulation may not however be the only means to the projected end with the AFA recommending alternatives to policy recommendations to include self-regulation of industry players and the use of fiscal instruments such as taxation to deter malpractice amongst players.

“The sugar industry needs regulations immediately but there are various options to bolster the implementation of the same,” the statement continued.

The regulatory impact statement by the AFA follows a lengthy stakeholder engagement to include all millers, growers, county governments and the Kenya National Federation of Sugarcane Farmers.

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