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New KPCU won't be a coffee monopoly, chairman assures

By Victor Nzuma | March 14th 2020

The New Kenya Planters Co-operative Union (KPCU) has assured independent coffee millers that it will not run them out of town.

New KPCU chairman Henry Kinyua said the main purpose of establishing the new body is to assist in revival of the coffee industry and to positively excite the coffee value chain for the benefit of farmers.

Kinyua spoke at the Lower Eastern Coffee Milling plant (LECOM) in Machakos town at a meeting with representatives of coffee farmers in the region.

He said there was no cause for alarm as the body will not exercise any monopoly in the coffee business.

"Farmers through their respective co-operative societies will remain independent as before with the freedom of trading according to their choices, however, spare a window for supporting the new union which was formed for their own good," said Mr Kinyua.

He said all existing coffee millers owned by farmers like LECOM would remain independent to decide on their own destiny and therefore farmers should shun fears of any manipulation from the new enterprise.

"Actually, our major role will be to assist coffee farmers increase production and look for better markets for their produce," he said adding that there was need for farmers to retain and strengthen their existing institutions.

On the Cherry Advance Revolving Fund, which the government has initially allocated Sh3 billion to boost small scale farmers, the chairman said final touches were underway to commence the disbursement of the money to the beneficiaries.

He said the government's intention of creating the kitty was to ensure full revival and sustainability of the coffee sector. He advised all those who will qualify for the funds to utilise them diligently to improve their own welfare.

The host of the meeting and chairman of the Machakos Co-operative Union Patrick Katingima welcomed the government's move to assist coffee farmers and affirmed their support of the new KPCU. He was accompanied by the union's CEO Martin Malila.

Mr Katingima, an old hand in coffee business management, also urged county governments to emulate the national government's gesture to ensure full revival of the coffee sector.

The supervisory chairman of the LECOM, George Wambua, urged the new KPCU to prioritise improvement of coffee production.

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