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Societies warned over Sh3b reserve

Coffee farmers in some regions have started benefiting from the Sh3 billion revolving fund, even as the government warned co-operative committees that have not signed up.

Speaking in Kanja, Embu County, on Saturday when he met farmers over the new tea regulations, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said farmers from Meru and Murang’a were already benefiting from the fund that offers loans at three per cent.

Mr Munya said some co-operative society committees in Embu had refused to sign forms for farmers to access the funds, noting that this may force the government to dissolve the committees, which are under the county governments.

Various reforms

“In Meru County, farmers used to get earnings as low as Sh17 per kilogramme, but their earnings have improved due to the various reforms undertaken in the sub-sector. The government took over the Kenya Planters Cooperative Union mills in Meru and used it to mill the cherry from the region,” Munya said.

He added that 77 per cent of the Meru coffee were grades AA and AB, which will fetch farmers good earnings.

Munya added: “In the past, farmers would be told 70 per cent of their coffee was grade C. They would then be fleeced along the value chain and be told that the market was bad.”

He said this was the same case for Dandora Mill, which is also milling coffee and were now at the second crop with farmers getting good returns.

Munya said the tea reforms under the Crops (Tea Industry) Regulations 2020 were being endorsed by farmers across the country.

He said the amended regulations had been included in the Tea Bill, which is set to be debated at the Senate.

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