Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Sugar Board, Mr Andrew Otieno, confirmed on Tuesday the project would start before the end of the year.
The project, earmarked for Ndhiwa Constituency, would be funded by the European Union and a consortium of developers from Sudan and Switzerland.
It will be the second sugar firm in the region, which has a great potential for cane production, after Awendo-based Sony Sugar Company.
The project consultants, Khartoum based-Kenana Engineering and Technical Services, will produce white sugar, ethanol and electricity from its by-products. It will be constructed in two phases and will take between two and three years to complete.
The factory will benefit cane farmers from Rangwe, Ndhiwa, Rongo, Nyatike and Gwassi constituencies. Ndhiwa MP Mr Orwa Ojode and the Homa Bay DC, Mr Alloys Lentoinaga inspected the proposed site for the factory and said it will improve the region’s economy.
The factory is expected to bridge the perennial sugar shortages currently bedeviling the country. Kenana Engineering and Technical Services consultants are on the ground finalising feasibility studies with a ground breaking for the sugar milling plant scheduled for November.
The firm’s officials said the factory will crush 13,200 tones of sugar cane per day. Besides offering job opportunities, the firm will also fund the construction of schools, roads and health facilities. They said the miller will churn out 75 per cent ethanol and 25 per cent white sugar.
Among those in the team were the firm’s consultant agronomist, Mr Omer El Faroug Hassan Haiba, senior environmental engineer, Mr Abdel-Moneim Kardash and irrigation development manager, Mr Awad Elkarim Mahi among others.
The DC said the initiative will address endemic unemployment besides reducing poverty n the area. He said the Government encouraged more investors to set up enterprises in rural areas. Meanwhile, Rongo MP, Mr Ochillo Ayacko, has urged the Government to write-off a Sh1 billion debt Sony Sugar Company owes the Government and the Kenya Sugar Board.
Consortium to set up Sh20b sugar factory He said the debts should be converted into equity to help streamline the company’s operations. Ayacko claimed the Government has ignored cane farmers and asked them to write off Sony burden debts. "Cane farmers voted for President Kibaki hoping that he would address issues affecting them, but this seems to have hit a dead-end," he claimed.
The Government, he said, intervened to solve problems affecting coffee and pyrethrum farmers by bailing them out of their financial woes through the Budget, but turned its back on cane farmers.
Out of the Sh1 billion debt Sony owes Government Sh217 million and an accrued principal interests of Sh228 million that they had failed to service.
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