Coffee farmers have struck a deal to sell their produce directly to international buyers in South Korea without going through brokers to maximse their profits.
During a four-day Coffee Expo that kicked off on Wednesday in Seoul, where Kenya was the guest country, a number of farmers drawn from several coffee cooperatives met and interacted directly with South Korean importers.
The inaugural networking forum was meant to enhance direct sale and marketing of Kenyan coffee while positioning it as unique and of high quality.
The event organised by the Coffee Directorate and the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Enterprise Development was also meant to position Kenya as a leading coffee producer and exporter.
Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina led the delegation to the expo.
She said Kenya’s coffee exports to South Korea have been increasing, attributed to the mutual engagement between the Kenyan Embassy and Coffee Expo in Seoul.
“However, there is need to champion for branding of our coffee to eliminate middlemen who always interfere with the origin of coffee that ends up affecting the quality of the product in general,” Ms Maina said.
The CS said Kenya was committed to enhancing her trade relations with South Korea and assured the Korean business community that the country was an ideal investment destination.
She said more business dialogues will be opened between farmers and international buyers to push for increased international market share for Kenyan products.
The talks will also revolve around reduction of tariffs, she said.
Kenyan Ambassador to South Korea Mwende Mwinzi told Sunday Standard that the expo aimed at creating a direct networking link between Kenyan farmers and international coffee buyers.
This would enable the farmers to boost their earnings by dealing directly with importers, she said.
“It is the first time Kenyan farmers were interacting with the international buyers directly,” Ms Mwinzi said.
“That creates a formidable link between the two parties and eliminates middlemen who eat into farmers’ profit margins and who might compromise the quality of the produce as they chase after big profits.”
During the expo, buyers interacted with the coffee producers to build trust.
“This translates to more money to the farmer because they get to know where to sell their produce,” the ambassador added.