Mumias Sugar Company has unveiled a four-year strategy to propel it back to full production capacity.
Chief Executive Officer Errol Johnston said the giant miller plans to manufacture 250,000 tonnes of sugar annually from the current average of 70,000 tonnes.
This means the firm will have to crush more than two million tonnes of cane every year to achieve a 60 per cent rise in milling capacity from the current 40 per cent.
The turnaround blueprint also includes widening its market reach for portable spirit, ethanol, and production of by-products such as molasses.
The company further intends to sell excess power to the national grid to boost revenue. “We set a course for a long-term sustainable recovery in agriculture and sugar manufacturing. We are starting from a low achievement of 40 per cent of our capacity. However, we know that the fundamentals to be a successful sugar manufacturer are all present,” said Mr Johnston.
“We have the infrastructure and manufacturing machinery both to produce 250,000 tonnes of sugar annually and add value to our by products. We have the human resource with the requisite skills to achieve the capacity objectives from farming to all aspects of manufacturing within the next four years.”
As part of efforts to secure a sustainable flow of raw materials to the plant, the company has embarked on cane husbandry to produce cane varieties with a shorter production cycle and higher sucrose content.
Mr Johnston said over 5,800 acres of land in the nucleus zone has been earmarked for propagation with new varieties in the next year.
The company also plans to extend the acreage under contracted out-growers, who delivered 586,832 tonnes of sugarcane up to June this year.
The CEO said they were also banking on renewed farmers morale after the company paid out their dues following a Government bailout earlier in the year.
Private farmers delivered 532,259 tonnes of cane to push the volume of cane delivered up by 8.7 per cent from the previous year.
Mumias hopes increasing the acreage under contracted out-growers will tame the fierce cane wars, which the management has perennially blamed for underproduction. Mr Johnston said refurbishment of the plant has boosted farmers’ confidence in the future of the company.
The miller has increased cane prices by 18 per cent to Sh3,800 per tonne of cane delivered.