Former Mathira MP Ephraim Maina claims county duped farmers into pooling coffee

NYERI, KENYA: Former Mathira MP Ephraim Maina has accused the county government of duping coffee farmers.

The businessman said farmers were told to pool their coffee in a bid to attract good prices but were later abandoned without pay.

Mr Maina said the coffee sub-sector was one of the worst hit by mismanagement, noting that farmers were on the verge of abandoning the crop due to poor or no proceeds from their produce.

Maina, who recently launched his senatorial bid ahead of the August 8 election, accused the county government of taking advantage of the farmers.

County Agriculture executive Robert Thuo has, however, dismissed the claims, saying the county was no longer pooling coffee from factories for marketing.

In a telephone interview with The Standard, Thuo said the factories are allowed to engage with millers and if possible, marketers, so as to ensure farmers make an independent decision on who they want to sell their coffee to.

"We want farmers to make a decision on the miller they want... ours is just to lay a good platform for marketing through engaging international coffee marketers. The county government is no longer pooling coffee," said Thuo.

He said the county government encourages value addition on their coffee, adding that the county had engaged Estonian, Korean and Japanese governments in a bid to attract the markets.

Maina, who spoke at Nyeri Catholic Archdiocese hostels' hall,  said he was vying for the Senate seat to protect public funds from being looted.

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