Farmers want cushion in the face financial turmoil due to Covid-19 restrictions

Coffee and tea farmers in Mt Kenya region are worried that coronavirus will have devastating effects on their earnings.

Although they are still delivering the produce to factories, the farmers yesterday called on the government to come up with mitigating measures that will cushion them from losses.

With their income depending on the export market, farmers who spoke to Saturday Standard yesterday described the situation as fluid, coming a month after President Uhuru Kenyatta announced measures to revive the sector. 

"We hope the government has put in place contingency measures to ensure our only means of survival is cushioned against any eventuality. You can imagine what the collapse of the sector can cause to the economy," said Wilfred Muchiri, a tea farmer in Othaya.

Samuel Mwangi, a coffee farmer in Mathira, said although growers have not started feeling the effects of the virus, there was apprehension that in the long run the sector will be affected. 

"We choose to be optimistic even in this very uncertain times and hoping a cure is found soon so that life goes back to normal," Mwangi said. 

However, farmers growing perishable crops such as tomatoes and vegetables are already feeling the heat as markets have been urged to operate for fewer hours.