Potential role of corporate social responsibility in poverty alleviation among contract sugarcane farmers in the Nzoia sugarbelt, Bungoma, Kenya
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Although introduction of contract sugarcane farming was expected to alleviate poverty through increased income to farmers, it is widely acknowledged that poverty levels in western Kenya are still high. While the sugar companies generally register super profits, the surrounding communities, who supply the labour and land for cultivation of the sugarcane, are yet to break out from the poverty ratchets. Results from a study done within the Nzoia Sugarbelt in 2007 indicated that food insecurity and poverty remain serious concerns largely because most of the land is dedicated to sugarcane farming at the expense of other important food crops. In addition income generated from sugar processing is unevenly shared in favour of the company and not the farmers whose land and labour is contracted for this' purpose. To bridge this gap and enhance community livelihoods, this paper argues strongly for the need to institutionalise Corporate Social Responsibility policies within the daily operations of the company. Ten key building blocks for such a policy for Nzoia Sugar Company are suggested based on research findings from the field.