Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua at Kiriko village in Rongai, Nakuru county when they visited families evicted in the area over a land dispute on February 18, 2023. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has pledged to work with Parliament to address legislative, operational and other gaps in the coffee sub-sector comprehensively.

Gachagua who was speaking during a meeting with coffee marketing experts and Githunguri MP Gathoni Wamuchomba the Parliamentary Coffee Reforms Caucus chairperson said the wrong strategy in marketing and redundant institutions have contributed to deteriorating earnings for coffee farmers.

The DP also held consultations with coffee marketers as he seeks to consolidate views that will inform the reforms.

"Globally, consumers of coffee are paying one of the highest prices ever. It is, however, a sad story in Kenya as farmers continue to be poorer and poorer. President William Ruto and I are offering full political support to Parliament to do what it takes to bring back better returns to the farmer," said Gachagua.

He said that systemic issues in the sector can only be addressed through fresh or amendments to the various pieces of legislation.

He also acknowledged that there was a need to address brokers and other barriers that have long been cited as the reason why farmers were getting little benefits from the cherries.

"We have a responsibility to change the situation for the Kenya farmer to earn a dignified life," he said.

He said that he will seek to link coffee farmers directly to the buyer after aggregation adding that other barriers must be dismantled to cut operational costs to allow more money to trickle down to farmers.

"We have interacted with reports and engaged production and marketing experts; it is clear that prolonged chains from production to sale gates are not adding value to the farmer. They are an unnecessary burden," Gachagua said at the meeting.

Some of the laws that may be reviewed include the Agriculture and Food Authority Act, 2013, Crops Act 2013, Cooperative Societies Act, 2020, among others.

He also announced that a coffee conference will be held soon to consolidate more views from stakeholders including farmers.

While the grading of coffee remains the criterion for determining quality, Kenya will consider marketing distinct flavours at the international arena.

Gachagua said that there are arrangements with the Ministry of Interior to address the theft of coffee.