Coffee farmers get Sh3 billion support from Government

Coffee farmers’ fortunes are set to change for the first time in decades of misery after the Government announced a new fund for lending to support their activities.

The Sh3 billion revolving fund set to be operational by July this year is part of a package of goodies the President has outlined for farmers in a sector that is now on the verge of extinction due to poor management across the value chain of the crop that once used to top the country’s export charts.

Speaking at the opening of a one-week forum bringing together coffee farmers and experts around the world to meet for the first time in Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta reiterated his commitment to reviving the sector through a raft of far-reaching measures.

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“These reforms are farmer-centric and have been designed to boost production, reduce the cost of processing, transaction costs, among others,” noted the President, adding Kenya’s Coffee’s future cannot be bright if some of the participants in the coffee industry do not receive their just due.

“Coffee is a cash-crop that provides livelihoods to millions of persons in coffee growing and exporting countries,” he noted, adding that whole communities and even national economies can be immeasurably better off because of coffee.

Additionally, the President announced that the State has as of this year set up a Sh3 billion Cherry advance revolving fund to be operational from July 1.

“Consequently, all coffee farmers across the country will be able to access the fund at a modest interest rate of 3 per cent,” he said.

Also, the President said that at the heart of sector’s reform package is the operationalisation of the long overdue commodities exchange which is set to liberalise the coffee sector, ushering in an era of direct marketing by all stakeholders across the country.

SEE ALSO :Coffee sector yet to smell any relief from loan waivers and taskforces

“To protect the sweat of the brow of coffee farmers, my administration has embarked on a programme to entrench the principles of good corporate governance within the internal management of cooperatives across the country,”

He added that the intervention is line with the aspiration that cooperatives are to be well managed, financially stable, efficient, and able to deliver on their mission of enhancing benefits accruing to individual members.

President Kenyatta further said the State Department of Cooperatives is in the process of developing a legal framework to entrench annual audits into the daily operations of cooperative while ensuring that audit accounts are submitted to the Cabinet Secretary at the end of every financial year, with simultaneous release of the entire membership of the cooperative movement for the public benefit.

“The inaugural audits under the forthcoming enhanced regulatory framework will cover the calendar year 2019, and shall be submitted by all co-operatives on or before December 31,” he said.

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Coffee FarmersPresident Uhuru KenyattaCooperatives