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Hope for Embu coffee farmers as Munya mulls Sh135m debt waiver

BUSINESS
By Joseph Muchiri | June 15th 2020
Agriculture CS Peter Munya speaks during a consultative forum at the Embu County Coffee Mill in Kavuriti, Embu. [Joseph Muchiri/Standard]

Coffee farmers from 24 co-operative societies in Embu County, who are struggling to repay a Sh135 million loan borrowed to build a mill, may now get a debt waiver.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has directed the Embu County Government to present the necessary documentation for verification to be considered for a waiver.

Munya made the assurance when he met chairpersons of the coffee cooperatives under the Embu County Coffee Mill.

“Although we are also renovating the New KPCU mills to produce quality coffee, we seek to ensure that farmers have alternatives for milling, which will bring competition to the sector,” said Munya after the meeting in the mill’s precincts in Kavutiri.

Embu Governor Martin Wambora and the mill’s chairman John Maruku had appealed for the waiver, saying the Sh90 million loan from the Commodities Fund had ballooned to Sh135 million as a result of interest.

Mr Wambora pointed out that the increasing debt was a stumbling block to business’ thriving at the mill, as some cooperatives and estate farmers were reluctant to mill their coffee there fearing that their earnings could be used to clear the loan.

Out of the loan, Sh72 million was used to buy, from Brazil, milling machinery with a capacity of 2.8 tonnes per hour while some was used to build the facility.

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