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Makueni: Governor commits to streamline coffee sector

 Makueni Governor Mutula Kilonzo Jnr speaking during official launch of free medical camp on brain tumours. [Steve Nzioka, Standard]

At least 1,000 coffee farmers from the Mbooni coffee rich region of Makueni are beneficiaries of the Sh4.7 Million low-cost revolving coffee cherry Fund, a move to boost coffee production and productivity in the County.

The Cherry Fund has been improving farmer liquidity across coffee growing Counties where they can access farming basic commodities such as inputs as they wait to make their coffee sales.

According to governor Mutula Kilonzo Jr, the farmers under the Kikima Farmers’ Cooperative Society umbrella will first be trained through a newly established demo farm at Mulima coffee factory on modern coffee farming practises.

The funding comes as a result of a collaboration between the county government of Makueni and the New Kenya Planters Co-operative Union(New KPCU) to revamp the coffee sector in Makueni.

Speaking during the official launch of the Cherry Fund at Mulima Coffee factory, Mutula said the County and the national government was keen in boosting the sector across 7 coffee factories.

“We have realised coffee farming in this area was just a joke. Farmers have been making losses but through this training and support we have been assured within two years’ time the production will have improved,” the governor said.

He announced that his administration will make plans to provide fertilizer and other farm inputs for enhanced coffee production.

Nahashon Mainga, a coffee farmer told the standard that following the new collaboration they were sure their produce will fetch better market prices as opposed to before where they were farming at losses.

Charles Mutwiri alias Mkarimu- the director of the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union who accompanied the governor to during the field training of farmers said they were keen on ensuring maximum coffee production.

“Mine is to teach farmers on how to increase production. When you have 10 coffee plants we must be able to produce 1,000 kilograms of coffee. We must restore confidence amongst farmers in coffee farming,” said Mr Mutwiri

He continued, “We have seen the aged people are the ones doing coffee farming in this area, we want to teach the youth the benefits of engaging in agriculture especially coffee,” he added

The farmers were sensitized on best agriculture practices for maximum coffee profitability, ahead of a benchmark tour to Mukarimu Farm in Meru, the best coffee farmer in Kenya.

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