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President Uhuru Kenyatta's task force to align coffee laws with constitution

By Graham Kajilwa | March 14th 2016

Task force probing the coffee business has been instructed to provide institutional, legislative and administrative systems that will reform the sector.

As part of its responsibilities as put out on the dailies, the task force has been asked to review the financing of the coffee industry, payment to farmers, by reviewing the market position of Kenyan coffee both locally and globally.

"The task force should recommend a coffee value chain with the best processing and market prices to optimise returns based on transparency, fair trade and constitutional property rights," read the government notice.

Consequently, a prioritised implementation matrix clearly stating the immediate, medium and long-term coffee sector reforms and the resultant budgetary requirements should be developed.

The taskforce has scheduled a number of fora across 30 counties on March 16 and 17 for the public to give their own input on some of their expectations in the sector.

Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Meru, Kiambu, Murang'a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga and Machakos are some of the counties. Others are Nakuru, Laikipia, Uasin Gishu, Transnzoia, West Pokot, Nandi and Kakamega.

The task force will review the entire coffee value chain and identify areas requiring interventions such as production, processing, and marketing of coffee in order to enhance for famers.

"Exports earnings have declined from Sh50 billion in the 90s to Sh15 billion in 2015. This is attributed to low productivity and of two kilogrammes per tree against a potential of 30 kilogrammes," read the notice.

Many farmers are also said to be uprooting their coffee in favour of other crops or selling off their land mainly to real estate developers.

Other challenges facing the sector are debts, high cost of inputs (fertiliser and pesticides) limited credit access and poor corporate governance among farmers.

The government is yet to release Sh700 million to clear the Sh1.2 billion a debt waiver for farmers it pledged few years ago which Principal Secretary State Department of Cooperatives Ali Noor Ismail has assured farmers that it will be factored in the 2016/2017 financial year.

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