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CS Linturi Launches Probe into Sugarcane Theft, Weighbridge Fraud Amid Farmers' Outcry

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi has taken decisive action, instructing the Agriculture Food Authority (AFA) to investigate serious allegations of sugarcane theft and weighbridge fraud. This move comes in response to concerns raised by Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda and complaints from cane farmers about potential exploitation by rogue millers. Despite denials of weighbridge fraud, Linturi is committed to developing tighter regulations to ensure transparency and fairness in sugarcane weighing.

Investigation to Address Cane Theft and Fraud

Amidst rising concerns from farmers, Linturi's initiative to order a thorough investigation by the AFA aims to uncover any malpractices within the sector. The investigation's findings are expected to inform the creation of more stringent regulations governing weighbridges, a move designed to protect farmers from exploitation and ensure they receive fair compensation for their produce. The focus is not only on creating a fairer system but also on streamlining the process to reduce transportation costs for farmers through the establishment of cane buying centers.

Efforts to Streamline Weighbridge Operations

Linturi emphasized that the accuracy of weighbridges falls under the jurisdiction of the Weights and Measurement department, highlighting the importance of cross-departmental cooperation in addressing these issues. By enhancing the management of weighbridges, the ministry aims to eliminate opportunities for fraud and theft, thus protecting the interests of sugarcane farmers. Additionally, Linturi's announcement includes plans to protect farmers by facilitating easier access to cane buying centers, thereby reducing transportation costs and further safeguarding farmer earnings.

Addressing Management and Performance of Sugar Companies

Addressing another layer of the controversy, Linturi shed light on the appointment of managing directors for state-owned sugar companies, indicating that these positions are based on contracts subject to performance for renewal. This statement was made in the context of ensuring that the leadership of these companies aligns with the goals of fairness and transparency. Linturi also noted that some state-owned sugar companies, including Muhoroni and Miwani, are currently under receivership, managed by receiver managers appointed by the Cabinet Secretary, indicating ongoing efforts to improve the management and efficiency of these entities.

As the investigation by the AFA unfolds, stakeholders within the sugarcane industry eagerly await its findings, hopeful for reforms that will lead to a more equitable and transparent system. Linturi's proactive measures reflect a commitment to addressing the concerns of farmers and ensuring the sustainability of the sugarcane industry in Kenya.

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