Kirinyaga farmers want to take over coffee mill

A farmer tends to his unripe coffee berries. [File, Standard]
Coffee growers in Kirinyaga are seeking to use the Sh200 million mill at Kiaga market that has been lying idle since its installation five years ago.

The farmers, who said they are able to produce more than six million kilogrammes of cherry annually, wondered why they should continue to transport their crop for milling outside the county when the facility remained idle.

Led by Mafric Njagi, the farmers said transporting the produce to these millers reduced their returns despite producing premium coffee.

“In this county, we have about 500 estate farmers and each one of us takes his or her coffee to private millers and marketers outside. The losses we incur leave us with very little returns,” Njagi said. He said many farmers had reverted to their former cooperative societies due to the high costs of production, processing and transportation to private millers.

Speaking in Kerugoya town yesterday, Mr Njagi also wondered why the county government could not assist in ensuring the idle mill was operationalised to boost the coffee sector.

“We know cooperative society leadership has been compromised by the private millers. These millers see the operationalisation of the facility as a real threat to their business,” Njagi claimed.

Kimani Gatuguta, the chairman of the Kirinyaga County Cooperative Union said the mill will be commissioned.

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Coffee growersKirinyagaKiaga market