By Bosco Magare - Company Corporate Affairs

CHEMELIL Sugar Company floored four state-owned millers and scores of private factories as the Company’s nominee Joseph Kiilu, to the inaugural Sugar Industry Symposium scooped the Most Promising Innovator Award of Kshs. 20,000.00 with an accompanying plaque.

Kiilu from factory department was among five staff nominated by Management to represent the Company and make innovative presentations at the 1st Sugar Industry Symposium, held at Grand Royal Swiss Hotel, in Kisumu City from 6th to 7th December, 2022.

A total 8 innovation-oriented sub-themes papers were presented at the Symposium which featured state-owned and private sugar companies, other corporates, actors, stakeholders, select cane farmers, cane society officials, sugarcane lobby groups, agro-input firms, university researchers, among other sugar sub-sector related players.

The 8 innovation papers presented by various presenters and discussed at the Symposium featured the following sub-themes; ‘The sugar industry-a solution to the energy crisis’, 'The role of the Sugar Sector in Transformation of Food Systems’, Accelerating data-driven strategies for boosting sugar industry transformation.’

Other sub-themes presented included ‘The role of the Private Sector in advancing innovation, communication and technology for a sustainable sugar industry and improved livelihoods,’ ‘Soil Health Management Practices in enhancing Cane Crop Productivity,’ ‘ Modern Concepts in Sugar Packaging,’ and ‘ Harnessing and scaling digital technologies for enhanced productivity in the sugar value chain.’

Kiilu’s award winning individual presentation was titled ‘Economic and Mathematical Profit Model for Sugar Factories in Kenya’ presented under the sub-theme ‘Accelerating data-driven strategies for boosting sugar industry transformation.’

The Company nominee’s presentation received a standing ovation from scores of participants at the Symposium and Kiilu emerged as the Most Promising Innovator at the inaugural event and scooped a cash award of Kshs. 20,000.00 including an inscribed plaque as Chemelil Sugar Company Limited (CSCL) became the top state-owned miller to showcase an outstanding innovative idea.

Other categories that were presented with plaques and awarded cash awards by the Symposium organizers included, the top innovator category, won by two Masinde Muliro University of Science &Technology (MMUST) students Frankline Onyango and Ian Martin. The duo received a joint cash award of Kshs. 100,000.00 and a plaque as they were congratulated by MMUST lecturer Prof. Wamocho, who participated at the Symposium.

The Symposium’s top innovator 1st runner-up (an individual) was awarded Kshs. 70,000.00 and also received a plaque, while the category of Young Innovator was also won by an individual presenter who was awarded Kshs. 30,000.00 and also presented a plaque.

The Digital Innovator category award was won by an individual presenter who was awarded Kshs. 30,000.00 including a plaque.

According to the Symposium organizers the Sugar Innovation Awards are intended to showcase individuals, organizations, coalitions or initiatives that are taking inventive approaches to navigate a complex and changing external agronomic environment.

Symposium organizers assert that the industry needs to innovate to survive in a world shaped by shifting geographic powers, climate change and technological advances. “We’re looking for novel approaches that embrace change and are driven by the desire to make a lasting contribution to development” Symposium organizers declare.

Sugar Directorate official Patricia Njeru says the criteria for presentations of the awards included applicability of innovation(its relevance to sugar sub-sector), scalability of innovation(capacity of innovation to meet increased demand), cost-effectiveness ( innovation’s ability to give the target customer value for their money, impact of innovation( how effective and sustainable is the innovative solution) , viability of innovation(its potential for success upon being rollout for mass consumer use) and safety of innovation( is the innovative solution likely to cause harm or injury to users and the environment).

The Symposium which ended on Wednesday this week 6th December was opened by County Government of Kisumu Governor H.E.Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, was organized by Sugar Directorate in liaison with the Agriculture & Food Authority (AFA) and the parent Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives.

The Ministry’s Principal Secretary (PS) Comm. Kello Harsama was represented at the Symposium by Tom Dienya, in-charge of Statistics at the Ministry. Dienya closed the Symposium on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture Principal Secretary Comm. Kello.

Other key dignitaries who attended the event include Agriculture & Food Authority (AFA) Director General Beatrice Nyamwamu, Sugar Directorate Director Willis Audi and Sugar Research Director Dr. Betty Mulianga, among other high-ranking officials representing diverse sectors.

“We are new customers of this company and have been very favorably impressed with the quality of the work performed by your staff.”