Farmers protest over closure-By Joseph Ojwang


Hundreds of sugarcane farmers and workers at Kibos sugar factory in Kisumu took to the streets protesting at the closure of the factory by National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) over air pollution.

The chairman of the workers union Noah Odhiambo says workers have been rendered jobless following the shut down.

Odhiambo says the company has already communicated to the over 1,000 employees that there would be no work until further notice.

He appealed to the government to look into the issue critically and help Kibos and by extension hundreds of workers and farmers who were directly and indirectly benefiting from the company.

The farmers union however read mischief into the tribulation that Kibos is undergoing.

Kisumu Sugar belt Cooperative Union chairman Zedekiah Otene alleged that NEMA is playing politics with the issue of Kibos.

Otene says some powerful figures are behind the closure of the factory and challenged NEMA to carry out their mandate professionally.

Cane that had been harvested and lying at the weighbridges across the Nyando sugar belt region will now go into waste as the factory will not be able to crush.

Otene says Kibos sugar factory is the only standing factory that was operating and employing thousands of people.

He wondered why the government is killing factories yet they are agitating for more factories to employ the jobless youth.

He feared that my factories will shun investing in Kisumu due to hostile environment from the government.

Last week on Friday NEMA closed the factory for flouting air regulations rules. This is after they failed to comply within 30 days.

A farmer, Dancan Nyakure says other sugar factories in Western Kenya area also producing smoke wondering why they have not been targeted.

Nyakure says as farmers they are reading malice into the action taken by NEMA.