Coffee farmers set to earn Sh80 per kilo

A farmer sorts coffee berries. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

Small-scale coffee farmers in Kenya will soon smile all the way to the bank following the move by the Government to set the minimum price for a kilogram of cherry at Sh80.

The new policy with echoes of Guaranteed Minimum Returns (GMR) that was pledged by the Kenya Kwanza government will be implemented in the 37 coffee-growing counties.

Launching the Coffee Cherry Advance Revolving Fund in Makueni and Machakos counties on Tuesday, Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said the cherry fund is one of the key reforms that will return coffee farming to profitability.

The fund will be administered by the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU) that was represented by chairman Daniel Chemno and Managing Director Timothy Mirugi.

Chelugui said farmers will paid the Sh80 per kilo within a month after delivery of the coffee. He said Sh40 will be paid once the farmer takes the coffee to the factory and the remainder of Sh40 within a month after the coffee is pulped.

The CS assured that all small-scale coffee farmers will benefit from the fund and urged them to increase production so that they can earn more.

He explained that should the farmers’ coffee fetch more than Sh80, the balance will be paid off to them as a bonus and in the event the prices go down, the government will cushion them with the GMR.

The CS said more reforms are on the way to return coffee to its former glory and ensure that farmers get a fair reward for their hard work.

Machakos Governor Wavinya Ndeti who attended the Kangundo event called on the government to waive the coffee farmers' debts.

Wavinya is seeking for a debt waiver of up to sh 603 million owed to coffee cooperative societies in the county.

She said the debt was small compared to what the national government had waived for farmers in other regions.

The governor said her government was supporting farmers with subsidized fertilizers and would like the Ministry of Cooperatives to step in and provide subsidized farm chemicals.

She also wants the national government to construct dams to enable farmers to irrigate their farms during the dry season, to ensure continuous production. 

The governor was optimistic that with proper support coffee production in the county could increase more than five times because currently, each tree is producing about 2kgs of coffee while the capacity is more than 10kgs.

“I also urge President Ruto’s administration to rethink the plan to tax coffee farmers who are already burdened with high cost of inputs,” she said.

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