2nd Forum on Employment Creation in Sugar Sector in Kenya: Challenging the Political Economy Dilemmas and the Role of Utafiti Sera (Research-Policy Community)

The Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) and the Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE) held a stakeholder forum on employment creation in the sugar sector in Nairobi on 15th of November 2016. The forum titled ‘’Employment Creation in the Sugar Sector in Kenya: Challenging the Political Economy Dilemmas and the Role of Utafiti Sera’’ brought together 42 stakeholders comprising representatives from Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), sugarcane growers, millers, research community and the media.

The aim was to present and discuss findings and implications of a study on employment creation in the sugar sector by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS – University of Nairobi).

The study revealed that employment policies over the years have been anchored on the agricultural sector but the potentials of the sector to promote wage employment have not been fully realized because of a number of blockages, including: political interference, low application of technology at the lower end of the value chain, weak institutional framework for supporting the industry, unhealthy competition arising from commodity imports, and the existence of cartels that are able to influence policies in the sector for their private interest.

Specific to the sugar value chain is the involvement of politicians in the industry as lobbyists for importers in exchange for rent from the industry instead of real production and supporting job creation. This dilemma contributes to the poor enforcement of regulations. Key policy actors and private companies are keen only at the high end of the value chain – trading and importation.

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