Indian investor bets Sh8bn on Kenya sugar industry

Sugar cane farming
The plant is expected to mill 3,000 tonnes of cane a day. PHOTO/FILE
A wealthy Indian investor is planning to spend Sh8.5 billion to set up a sugar cane farm and milling plant in Siaya, Governor Cornel Rasanga has said.

The unnamed investor, who is seeking to cultivate the crop on 17,000 acres in Yala Swamp, has already conducted feasibility studies that showed that the land is suitable for sugar cane farming.

“The land is currently idle, thus, it will be prudent that we allow the investor to cultivate it for the benefit of us all,” Mr Rasanga said.

The governor also urged farmers to seize the opportunity provided by the investor who will also provide fertiliser and seeds to individuals willing to engage in sugar cane farming.

The Indian joins a growing list of foreign investors seeking to invest billions of shillings into sugar cane farming in Kenya.

The Kwale International Sugar Company Ltd, which is partially owned by Mauritian sugar miller Omnicane, is, for example, in the final stages of beginning full-scale production of sugar at its factory in Kwale.

The plant, which is built where the collapsed Ramisi Sugar factory was located, is expected to mill 3,000 tonnes of cane a day and comprises an 18-megawatt bagasse-fired power plant and an ethanol plant with capacity to produce 50,000 litres per day.

The Kenya sugar industry generates an estimated Sh12 billion annually, creates about 500,000 jobs and supports the livelihoods of about six million Kenyans.