DP Rigathi Gachagua: State on track to reclaim coffee sector

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has assured farmers of better income from coffee as he presided over the reopening of the Nairobi Coffee Exchange auction.

The DP said the reopening of the auction is just the beginning of the journey to deliver are anchored in President William Ruto’s Executive Order No. 1 of the 2023.

He said the reform being undertaken are based on the resolutions of the Coffee Subsector Stakeholders Conference, which he convened in Meru County in June 2023.

“The bell we ring today signifies that the small-scale farmer, who has been toiling and sweating for peanuts, will meet the buyer and negotiate the price of their coffee- not through middlemen,” said the Deputy President.

He added: “Indeed, the journey to putting the money to where it belongs- the pocket of the farmer- is firmly on course.”

The DP said coffee was once the pride of Kenya, fetching the country foreign exchange but was captured by cartels and brokers which had the cash crop lose its value to the farmer.

He said this is one of the reason why production dropped from an average of over 130,000 metric tonnes in the late 1980s to as low as 34,000 metric tonnes.

“We want to boost the crop production per bush from an average of two kg to about eight kg in the next one year as we target at least 200,000 MT by 2027,” he said. “

This, he said, will boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings and contribute to sustaining a stable economy.

“That is why the we have set aside funds for fertiliser subsidy, coffee cherry fund, besides enhancing the capacity of the Coffee Research Institute,” he added.

The DP noted that during the Coffee Stakeholders’ Conference, it was recommended that the Coffee Board of Kenya and the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union be redesigned for farmer-centred operations. 

He also pointed out that the government is working on value addition and marketing through specialty coffee route.

“We are reforming these agencies to serve the farmer better,” he said. “I wish to assure our farmers that the reforms are unstoppable. Our interest and focus remain in the farmer, especially the small-holder, earning more at the international market.”

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