ODS and the Nucleus Estate supervision teams in conjunction with Agronomy section and Kenya Sugar Research Foundation (KESREF) disseminate latest technologies to farmers to enable them (farmers) boost their cane production per unit area.
Research on the development of the cane varieties and related yield boosting techniques are coordinated from the Agronomy section in collaboration with the out growers’ development section teams. Current research activities are:
The use of compost manure as a complement for the chemical fertilizer whose prices have escalated significantly in the recent past.
- The propagation of early maturing varieties
- Use of blended fertilizer and soil PH amendment using lime
- Use of herbicides for weed control
Farmers outreach programmes
The new technologies and refreshers on the existing best practices are shared with farmers through field days and on-farm demonstration. Use of farmers groups for research and dissemination of information has proved very successful.
Out growers Development Section
- An area of 59,055.15 ha. under cane growing stretching from Kakamega town through Busia town with a radius of 65 Km from the factory weigh bridge.
- The number of farmers is currently at 83,650 with mean holding of 0.7ha. of land for the Sugarcane.
- Through the Out growers scheme MSC gets 90% of its annual milling cane delivery.
- Has an area of 4000 hactors in total including satellites in former Busia sugar site; ‘Nasewa’ and Sangalo Institute.
- It provides approximate 10% of the total factory demand for milling purposes per year.
- It is the source of Seedcane for planting through development of A and B Nurseries.
Doing business with Mumias
- The logistics is for the farmers to lease land to MSC for a minimum of 3 ratooning periods.
- For food sustainability purposes, it is recommended that the farmer leaves 2/3 thirds piece of his/her land for food crop cultivation and avail 1/3 for cane development.
- The investment on the growing of cane is shared between the farmer and MSC which provides financing for the major inputs.
- MSC offers loans to farmers by service provision in Ploughing, harrowing, furrowing, surveying, harvesting, and cutting. Material loans are for the fertilizer and Seedcane. All these loans elements are deducted upon harvesting of the cane either for seeding or milling purposes.
- The farmer’s investment is on planting of the seed, application of the fertilizer to the crop on planting and after the 6th Month and weeding severally depending on the weed condition in the field.
Cane production process
- The process begins by the farmers contracting land for cane establishment with MSC. It involves a vigorous process of establishing the ownership or right of development of the piece of land.
- Upon contracting, a physical check and subsequent Ploughing, harrowing and furrowing is done to establish a good seedbed for the cane. These services are subcontracted for the purpose of building capacity for the locals by allowing them to invest, get employment and benefit from the whole cane production process through more channels other than the actual cane growing and ownership of the farms.
- The surveyor then picks the developed area of land to assist in determining the inputs to be supplied to the respective plots.
- Fertilizer is then delivered to the individual farmers by use of contracted transport firms by use of Lorries who team up with security personnel and MSC staff.
- Upon confirmation of all other deliveries, Seedcane is provided to the farmers again by use of contractors tractors with open trailers. This involves the cutting of the Seedcane from one farmer after approval from the company agronomists to a centralized position into the field intended to be planted.
- Planting then takes places with majority of the farmers using family labour; others are grouped together as either men or women from the same locality and work together in their respective plots while others contract groups of women to do the work.
- Weeding follows with the number of times varying depending on the field condition. Plant cane usually attracts 4 times weeding while ratooned cane attracts 3 all of which are done within the first 8 months of cane growth.
- 2nd fertilizer application is made to the crop after the 3rd weeding is done.
- Between the age of 14 and 16 months, the cane if approved by agronomy can be harvested for Seedcane purposes. Otherwise it is allowed to mature to 18 months and harvested for milling.
- Again the recommendation for harvesting is done by the agronomist upon proposal by the Out growers area supervisor through his zonal manager.
- Cutting is also another contracted service done by a group of cutters with the use of special pangas designed with a hooked end to enable for the removal of the vegetative material. They cut cane and stalk it for convenience of loading for transport.
- The loading is done by means of a grabber either on a three wheel or four wheeled tractor. The concept involves the transportation of cane differentiating the source plots to facilitate accountability of produce from each farmer. The transport means is by use of a tractor with a basket that carries on average 8 tonnes of cane.
- Transportation is done and delivered at the factory weighing bridge for the actual determination on how much cane was harvested.
- Back in the field the cycle begins again depending on the yield, the cane can either be ratooned or the Ploughing process is done again.
- Fundamentally, supervision at all stages of cane development is mandatory with the basic machinery being a motorbike or a 1300cc Suzuki vehicle. The fleet management section is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that all the vehicles available are in working condition.
Other support sections are the
- Quality assurance – which make checks on all processes of cane development and ensure non conformities to the set standards do not prevail.
- The training and extension service section ensures our staff is trained in best practices while ensuring that the latest technologies are provided for the farmer