Kiambu County in talks with State over Sh400m

The Kiambu County Government has initiated talks with the national government to have Sh400 million local coffee societies debts waived.

Deputy Governor James Nyoro said at the weekend that the huge debt by the coffee societies had been a great impediment to development of coffee farming locally.

Nyoro, speaking during the official opening of the annual Waruhiu Farmer Training Centre farmers' exhibition, said the talks, if fruitful, would see 23 coffee societies benefit from the waiver.

He said the once giant Komothai Coffee Cooperative Society was leading the pack with Sh160 million debt.

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He said there were several other areas where a similar debt was cancelled. He wondered why the same had not been done in Kiambu.

“We have initiated talks with the Government so that we can see what can be done, including writing off the debts. We have to remove, shelf or reschedule the debt so that the farmers can stand to benefit. With the debt the farmers cannot get good returns,” he said.

Dr Nyoro said many of the county's coffee factories were in deplorable condition, adding that they were seeking to revive them.

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“Coffee marketing is also a very serious problem that has affected the industry, but we are looking for markets outside the traditional ones,” he said.

He added that the county was seeking to put all the 23 coffee societies under one umbrella body to gain the economies of scale and fetch better prices for the commodity.

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Nyoro said local coffee farmers should take advance payment for their parchment after the Government set up a Sh3 billion cherry advance revolving fund.

The jury is still out on the effectiveness of debt reliefs by the Government to coffee farmers in the country since a number of cooperatives are still sinking in debt. 

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