By Angela Oketch
Famers supplying cane to Nzoia Sugar Company have threatened to withdraw their services citing discrimination and late payment.
The farmers who spoke to the Nation on Wednesday said they were going to transport their cane to other factories.
They said management of the company is giving priority to farmers from other zones where they poach cane.
Mr Eric Kahoya, 24 said he delivered his cane to the factory in January last year but he has not been paid to date.
“When I requested for my payment early this year, I was told that I had not presented a copy of my national Identity card which I have taken to them thrice,” said Mr Kahoya.
Mr Kahoya, who is a student at Kibabi Diploma Teachers Training College said he has been home since last year because he cannot raise money to pay his school fees.
“I started sugar cane farming because I knew the profit would pay my school fees but now I have to wait for the company to pay the arrears, I don’t know when they will pay me,” he said.
He said he has made several trips to the factory but the management is not willing to listen to him. He claimed he had so far delivered 5.94 tons of cane to the miller.
Mr Vincent Masika Sikuku on the other hand has delivered canes three times but he has not received any payment.
“The first delivery I made was in January last year but when I requested for my payment was told the money was deducted for cane development and that there was no balance,” said Mr Sikuku.
He alleged that some farmers from Busia zones who brought cane to the company in January this year have been paid.
“Why are they forgetting that we are the contracted farmers and we also deserve to be given special treatment as well. I will only deliver cane to the factory on condition that I am paid all my arrears,” he said.
Ms Millicent Wamalwa, another farmer, is appealing to the company to pay her so that she settles school fees for her children.
“What’s the benefit of planting a crop that you don’t benefit from,” she asked.
She said she will deliver cane to another factory of her choice if the miller does not pay her by next month.
However, Mr Macklins Wasike, miller’s agriculture manager said they are late on payment by only two months.
“We know we are behind by two months and this has been brought by lack of cane to crash,” he said
Mr Wasike also noted that they are not giving any special treatment since they pay all farmers 30 days after delivery.
Mr Gilbert Awino, who is in charge of communication said some farmers have not met all requirements to be paid, thus delaying their dues.
“Most farmers are reluctant to open a bank account claiming that their money will be deducted and at the same time we can’t pay them using invoices. This has led to late payment,” he said.