The New Kenya Planters Co-operative Union (New KPCU) has started taking over its mills countrywide after the conclusion of the liquidation of its predecessor.
On Friday, the New KPCU management evicted the Meru County Coffee Union (MCCU) from the Meru factory and installed new guards to man the premises.
New KPCU director Thuranira Atheru said Acting General Manager Joel Imitira led the team that was involved in the handover of the Meru mills.
He said other teams simultaneously took over the mills in Kisii and Sagana pending the floating of tenders to lease them again.
MCCU General Manager Duncan Marete said no notice was given prior to the arrival of the New KPCU team who demanded they vacate the premises immediately.
“Our pleas to be allowed to secure our assets fell on deaf ears and we had to give way to avoid confrontation,” said Mr Marete.
MCCU has since instructed its lawyers to challenge the eviction in court while the union leadership plans a meeting to decide how they will manage produce from their affiliated factories after their only mill was taken over.
A meeting of the MCCU board is scheduled for this morning in Meru town.
“The union leadership will determine whether they will construct their own factory which required between Sh150 million and Sh200 million,” said Marete.
Mr Atheru, a Meru-based lawyer, said legally, the New KPCU needed to take over the assets of its precursor before any fresh arrangements can be entered into.
Faced with dwindling clients, the old KPCU leased its mills at Meru and Kisii to the local county coffee unions and the Sagana Coffee Mills to the Kenya Co-operative Coffee Mills (KCCM) over five years ago.
Last week, the High Court allowed the New KPCU to run the Sh3 billion Coffee Cherry Advance Fund capitalised by the government.