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Miller gets new boss as farmers’ earnings increase

By Wainaina Ndung'u | March 4th 2021

Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives Hon. Peter Munya speaking during official launch of Bt. Cotton Seed and pesticide to 23 Counties suitable for Cotton production. [Wilberforce Okwiri]

The New Kenya Planters Co-operative Union (New KPCU) has reported double earnings for farmers in co-operatives milling with in its factories in the Mt Kenya region.

Meanwhile, Agriculture CS Peter Munya has appointed Timothy Mirugi as the Acting Managing Director of the union taking over from Angeline Ndambuki who has been at the helm since July last year.

Ndambuki in turn replaced Joel Imitira who was initially picked by the CS to head the co-operative mills but stepped down due to a pending corruption case related to his tenure at the Meru County Investment and Development Corporation.

Mirugi who has been heading the Kenya National Trading Corporation said the biggest task at the New KPCU was setling up robust systems and encourage farmers to join the country’s biggest miller.

A breakdown of earnings by farmers in 34 Meru co-operatives in the 2019/20 season shows they all surpassed double the rates they paid to farmers in 2018/19 year, with one factory almost tripling its earnings in the same period.

The figures which were circulated by the Ministry of Agriculture officials during the public participation meetings for the proposed Coffee Act are a culmination of improved operations that reduced the milling expenses while increasing the premium grades from pulping factories.

New KPCU chairman Henry Kinyua said farmers had also made savings because their factories located in the hinterland including Meru town and Sagana did not need to transport parchment to Nairobi area for milling.

According to Kinyua, New KPCU has signed up over 50 co-operative societies since it resumed milling last year from Nyeri, Murang’a, Kiambu, Embu, Nandi and Embu counties and over 20 plantation factories.

Stanley Mung’ori, chairman of Ntogoro Coffee Factory under Nthimbiri in North Imenti said New KPCU had given them tidy earnings due to a many factors including reduction of milling loses, better auction disclosures and transparency in the whole milling/marketing chain.

The New KPCU figures show some of the top earning factories as Nduluma in Tigania North which rose from Sh25 to Sh93.60 last season, Kathima in Igembe Central which rose from Sh24 to Sh82.45 in the same period and Anchege under New Igembe Coffee Farmers Society in Igembe South from Sh34 to Sh101. [Wainaina Ndung’u]


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