Troubles have been bombarding Mumias Sugar Company in the recent past, and there seems to be no reprieve for the sugar millers. Suspected arsonists recently set fire to 92.47 hectares of cane.
The receiver managers’ plans to reestablish the mill and restart operations next month seems to be sabotaged by unknown people. They have been setting the fires continuously for the past three weeks.
The company had seized operations in the first quarter of 2018 due to shortage of raw materials. The arsonists were burning over the mature cane, leading detectives to believe that they had insider information.
The Management of Mumias is yet to establish who the perpetrators behind the fire incidents were.
Mr John Shiundu, the acting Human Resources manager, said that management officials had offered 50,000 shillings to anyone who gives information leading to the discovery and arrest of the suspected arsonists.
Mr Shiundu also said that the millers have put in place a plan that includes the deployment of private and highly trained security guards. The security guards are to patrol the expanse of the fields daily.
The sub-county police commander of Mumias, Mr Paul Korir, has also urged the management to work closely with the police. In order to catch the arsonists, Korir insists that collaborative efforts between the security guards and the police must be initiated.
To add to their woes, jaggery operators are suspected to be stealing sugarcane from the farms at night. They have been accused of using the cane for the production of brown sugar.
Mr Koris says that investigations of both incidents are currently ongoing.
For sustainability, the miller has entered into a deal with Bungoma based Nzoia Sugar Company to have some cane harvested. Mumias is sourcing molasses from the rival for ethanol production.
They are sourcing cane from Butali mills, Nzoia, Busia and Muhoroni sugar for the resumption of ethanol production.