Jitters over new coffee marketing model in Nyeri

By Wainaina Ndung’u

Nyeri , Kenya: Coffee farmers in Nyeri are anxious about a new marketing model suggested by the county government.

The county government has proposed the marketing of all coffee under one umbrella and formed a company.

However, farmers from Mukurwe-ini District, who met county government officials yesterday, expressed reservations regarding earnings.

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“Right now, all coffee farmers are looking for advances to enable them meet start of the year expenses, including school fees,” said Jeffers Macharia.

Farmers’ society

The farmers from the eight factories under Rumukia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Society wanted an assurance that the county government would not only be able to advance them money for the pre-season crop, but would also guarantee to pay the promised minimum of Sh30 per kilogramme of cherry.

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Farmers in the county have suspended milling and marketing of their coffee awaiting instructions on how to proceed under a limited liability company formed by the county government.

Nyeri County Executive Member for Agriculture Shadrack Mubea told farmers that Governor Nderitu Gachagua would announce an elaborate coffee milling and marketing formula tomorrow.

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The farmers were seeking the intervention of the county government over what they claim is an attempt to mill and market their coffee without involving the newly formed Mt Kenya Coffee Development Company Limited.

The county government has indicated that all coffee from the area will be marketed by the company and milled at the Kenya Planters Co-operative Union Sagana Mills.

Marketing agencies

But the farmers, led by Macharia and Kebu Kibui, claimed their coffee may be milled elsewhere and marketed through other agencies.

Mubea said the Nyeri governor would explain the new marketing model, including how advances will be granted to farmers.

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But he was hesitant about the Sh30 minimum payment promised to farmers, urging them to accept anything offered because of limited finances.

“Anything short of Sh30 will be like promising to marry a girl and then telling her you have found a replacement at the last minute,” warned Macharia.

The county executive member accused detractors of working hard to derail the coffee marketing initiative.

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