Bid to end tea, coffee farmers’ woes
By By JOB WERU | July 16th 2013
By JOB WERU
Nyeri,Kenya:Nyeri County government has been advised to promote increased coffee and tea production and value addition in order to end farmers’ problems.
Two task forces appointed to probe woes facing coffee and tea farmers and develop a programme to improve the sub-sectors in Nyeri noted that farmers were earning meagre proceeds, which led them to lose hope in cultivation of the cash crops.
Mr Wachira Mwago, who chaired the coffee taskforce said production of coffee had decreased greatly in the county, while each of the 12 million coffee bushes in the county had potential to produce up to 30 kilogrammes of the beans.
In the recommendations, it turned out that commercial coffee millers will have to source for business elsewhere.
The task force resolved to pick a farmers owned miller, Sagana Kenya Planters Co-operative Union (KPCU) mill, to process parchment coffee produced by farmers in the county, while those from Othaya area will take their beans to Othaya Coffee Co-operative mill.
The private millers have in the past been blamed for instigating conflicts within co-operatives and coffee theft.
The task force, which presented its report to area Governor, Nderitu Gachagua in Nyaribo area noted that milling and marketing have been complex components.
The tea task force chaired by Mr Dunstan Ngumo also presented its report to Gachagua. Mwago said although KPCU is under receivership, the mill was currently under Kenya Co-operatives Coffee Marketers and there was no threat that farmers will lack a miller if its properties are disposed of.
Mr Newton Nderitu, a task force member, who is the chairman of Othaya Coffee Farmers Co-operative said the society’s mill, which is situated in Othaya does not have capacity to handle the volume of coffee the county produces.
During the event, the tea task force recommended strengthening of value addition chain. In the report, the team noted that barely two per cent of Nyeri tea is sold in value-added form, while barely five per cent of total Kenyan tea is value added.
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