Over 700 Farmers who are under Kasinthula Cane Growers Limited (KCGL) in the Lower Shire district of Chikhwawa have accused their bosses of mismanagement after the company announced that it is making losses.
The company’s failure to realize profits will lead to the deterioration of the farmers’ living standards since they receive K50,000 every month each from the company when it is making profits.
During an extraordinary meeting, management informed the farmers that due to poor performance of the company there were no profits realized, hence the farmers would not receive their advances from April this year till when the company’s financial muscle is retained.
During the meeting it was also revealed that management took a loan of K15 million but the bosses did not explain what the money was used for and how they plan to pay back the loan.
However, speaking in an interview with Malawi24 on the sidelines of the meeting, one of the farmers Meki Chilenje accused the bosses of buying many company cars and hiring more than enough employees which has led to the draining of resources.
“[The company should] reduce the number of the employees we have here because most of them are just receiving the money without seeing the work they are doing and there are so many cars here almost each and everyone within the management has an official car. Who can believe that things are not going on well here? Can’t you sell some of the cars and get a bus that will be used as a staff bus?
“Because these could have been ways and means of saving our resources that are just going down the drain,” queried one of the cane growers Meki Chilenje.
He added that management hired a contractor to work on the farms but the farmers are not satisfied with the contractor’s work.
“During the time when we farmers used to work in our fields, things were just okay and problems were of course there but not as how they are now. The contractor working in our fields at the moment has done more harm to our fields than good. And we need him out of the fields. Allow us to do the work,” the farmer said.
Reacting to the farmers’ sentiments, the company’s acting General Manager Wilson Hunga said the decision by farmers not to expect their advances come 1st April 2017 onwards was reached when it was realized that the company was making huge losses.
Hunga said time has come when both farmers and the management should engage in serious talks in as far as bringing back Kasinthula Cane Growers Company Limited to its roots where it used to produce enough for sale is concerned.
“Our aim is to bring back Kasinthula Irrigation Scheme to its normal function. Now if there are some differences we are facing, please let us settle them down here unlike reaching to an extent of pointing fingers,” said Hunga.
Kasinthula Cane Growers Company Limited is one of the oldest sugar companies in Malawi but has a history of financial hiccups that lead to farmers, who are shareholders, experiencing deteriorating living standards.