International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Unsustainable Finances of the Sugar Economy in Kakamega County, Kenya
Mukhwana M. Duncan

This research focused on sugarcane farming; why farmers end up with minimal (if any) benefits from commercialized sugarcane production after labouring for at least one and a half years. Methodologically, the research relied on farmers’/sugar companies’ document analysis, oral interactions with farmers and company officials, and researcher observation of the research area. The concepts of commercialization, innovation and sustainability were utilized in this research. Commercialization denotes the range of changes embraced by households as a consequence of increased sensitization of their productive systems to the presence of the market. Innovation implies the ability of a people to be inherently dynamic historical actors and not merely amorphous masses of peasant cultivators. Sustainability is the ability to maintain a beneficial relation in the enterprise a people are involved in by balancing between the psychic and material returns. The research established that sugarcane transportation was not only controversy ridden; it was also a burden to the farmer often costing at least 30 percent of the farmers’ gross income. Moreover, the total deduction accounted for 50 percent of the gross income. These, together with the long maturation period of sugarcane in the western sugar belt adversely affected the sugar economy culminating in poverty and a marked absence of development. The research concluded that sugar companies exploited the sugarcane farmers depleting their financial investment base. It thus recommends that sugar companies should introduce mobile weigh bridges for the harvested sugar cane to be weighed on the farms before transportation to the factories. It further recommends a full implementation of section 29 the sugar act 2001, which among other things requires the company to weigh the harvested sugarcane at the farm gate and transport it efficiently. Further the acts provide that the farmer will not be charged the cost of transport.

Full Text: PDF