KENYA – The receiver manager appointed by KCB to take over operations of the cash-strapped Mumias Sugar Company has picked Francis Wabuke as acting general manager, reports Daily Nation.

The appointment comes as plans to revamp dilapidated milling equipment and restructure operations at the factory are underway in a plan meant to kick-start milling in January next year.

“We are busy working on a revival strategy that will ensure that we kick-start milling operations after carrying out repairs and maintenance of the factory,” said Mr Ponangapalli Venkata Ramana Rao, the receiver manager.

Mr Wabuke is a former employee of the Booker Tate Company, a leading international agricultural production and processing consultancy firm.

Before joining Booker Tate, he worked at the miller and later took up a management position at the Nzoia Sugar Company.

The appointment of Mr Wabke came after Mr Rao met officials of the Kenya Union of Sugar Plantation and Allied Workers (KUSPAW) in Kisumu.

During the meeting Rao briefed the union officials on the progress being made to revive the miller.

The revival plan involves restarting ethanol production to generate revenue to sustain operations in the next one month after maintenance and repair of milling equipment.

It also entails preparation of 1,500 acres of land at the nucleus estate to plant cane within the next six months for supply of raw material to the factory.

Mr Francis Wangara, KUSPAW Secretary-General said the receiver manager had assured the union that the firm would absorb all workers at the factory when it resumes milling.

“At the moment, his focus is to generate revenue to restart operations at the factory after the planned repairs of milling equipment,” said Mr Wangara.

Mr Rao held a closed-door meeting with senior managers and workers at the factory in Mumias after briefing union officials.

In an earlier meeting with the union, the receiver manager had said he had no plans to sell the miller’s assets to recover unpaid loans after the High Court extended orders barring the move.

The county executive for Trade Mr Kassim Were Ali said the devolved unit will advance subsidised farm inputs to cane farmers including fertiliser and ploughing tractors.