The state has opened up five sugar companies for temporary buyouts by local and foreign investors.
This follows a meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and leaders from Western among them Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, Council of Governors Chair Wycliffe Oparanya and COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli on July 1.
The government has resolved to lease Miwani, Muhoroni, Nzoia, Chemelil and Sony sugar companies.
Qualified investors have been urged to make bids to run the firms for 25 years and hand them back to the government.
Investors will be tasked with modernising the factories, ensuring efficient management and returning the companies to profitability.
The bidders must demonstrate experience in running of similar plants in the last five years. Ability to mobilise finances as well as a global presence or partnerships.
The five companies command about 30% of Kenya’s sugar market which consumes over 1 million tons a year.
To attract investors, the government decided to write off a Ksh62 billion debt that millers owed the state.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya explained that the long leases of state-owned firms would help increase farmers’ income, enhance competitiveness and service delivery.
“Through comprehensive reforms, the government is determined to facilitate a multi-purpose sugar-cane industry that is efficient, diversified and globally competitive,” he announced.
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya praised that the move would boost sugar production and increase income for farmers.
The government also banned the importation of sugar to help revive local manufacturers.