Sarrai Group has chosen to remain at Mumias Sugar despite President William Ruto’s order over a month ago for them to leave.
This new investor in the once-thriving miller continues to operate within the company, even in the face of the order and the impending leasing of the factory to a different entity.
The investor is currently planting cane on the company’s expansive nucleus farm after completing the ploughing exercise, highlighting his intent to stay longer on the premises.
President Ruto had directed Sarrai Group to terminate their lease at Mumias, citing a lack of benefits to local farmers from their operations.
The heavy machinery brought in by the investor is still present on-site, with a handful of employees still present.
The cabinet has already approved the leasing of state-owned mills to the private sector, aiming to enhance productivity through fresh capital infusion.
Dr Ruto, during his recent visit to the Nyanza region, stressed the government’s commitment to leasing sugar factories as part of an effort to rejuvenate the struggling sector.
He also pledged to ensure the responsible management of these factories to safeguard farmers’ interests and improve efficiency through private sector resources.
“We will collaborate with private investors to modernise the factories, ensuring timely payments to farmers,” he declared.
Sarrai Group had secured the lease for Mumias Sugar Company’s assets in 2021, with the responsibility of reviving the collapsed sugar milling company after winning the bidding process.
The group had recently sought permission to resume cane milling, but the request was denied by the Sugar Directorate.
Sugar milling ceased on July 27, 2023, as a government measure to protect farmers from losses associated with premature cane harvesting.
According to the Sugar Directorate, selected mills with available cane can resume operations on a small scale, crushing no more than 600 tonnes of cane per day and operating for a maximum of 15 days per month.