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Troubled coffee sector crying out for reforms

COMMENTARY
By Fred Waga | Aug 14th 2016 | 1 min read

 

PHOTO: COURTESY

The push by small scale coffee farmers from 31 counties to gain access to international markets is the latest initiative by growers to take control of how and when they get paid by buyers.

The farmers, who say they will fetch a higher price for their coffee if they operate independently, have made this solo effort not long after the government gazetted regulations that will reform production and marketing of this important cash crop.

The farmers say the organisation they have formed to manage their operations — the Peasant Coffee Farmers Association — will process, market and sell their produce to potential markets in Italy and US so that they do not have to rely on millers they have used in the past.

This move comes after a group of farmers when to court to throw out rules gazetted by the national government introduced to reform the coffee sector. The rules were developed on recommendations of a task force report, presented to President Uluru Kenyatta earlier in the year.

The latest action by farmers indicates that problems surrounding the production, marketing and distribution of coffee are far from resolved. Therefore, stakeholders may want to step back and work together to determine how best this vital sector can be more efficiently managed.

 

 

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