Farmers get Sh2.3b from coffee cherry advance kitty in 3 months

Farmers in 20 counties received Sh2.3 billion from the Cherry Advance kitty. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Coffee farmers in 20 counties received Sh2.3 billion from the Cherry Advance kitty managed by the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (New KPCU).

The amount was disbursed in the last three months (December, January, and February) to 181,825 farmers affiliated with 186 cooperative societies. Kirinyaga farmers led the pack, receiving Sh377.4 million.  

New KPCU Managing Director Timothy Mirugi said the advance kitty is one of the initiatives by the government to support farmers in the cooperatives and estates - focusing on increased coffee production.

Mirugi said since the inception of the Coffee Cherry Advance kitty three years ago, the uptake has been at Sh3.67 billion, disbursed to 298,763 farmers in 24 counties, with Nyeri leading at Sh607.2 million shared by 68,357 farmers.

“In the last three months, farmers were paid the advance of Sh40 per kilogramme of coffee delivered for processing at their respective coffee factories, and the number is projected to rise annually owing to the training being conducted in the farmers’ societies,” said Mirugi.

In the last three months, Mirugi said Kirinyaga farmers got Sh377.4 million, Kiambu Sh281.5 million, Nyeri Sh281.9 million and Bungoma Sh214.2 million.

 In Busia County, one farmer took home Sh2 million, and another got Sh100,000 in Homa Bay.

In the disbursement of the kitty to the growers, Kirinyaga emerged the best after 55,543 farmers received Sh478.2 million. Murang’as Sh342.4 million was shared among 15,148 farmers.

Kigumo MP Joseph Munyoro - a member of the Coffee Tea Parliamentary Group said the uptake of funds was on the rise, benefitting more farmers.

“We are looking for avenues to increase the uptake of the kitty as the government is focused on supporting the sector to profitability,” said Munyoro.

According to coffee expert Henry Kinyua, the production of coffee in the 11 counties accounts for 86 per cent of the country’s production. 

In the 33 coffee growing areas, Kinyua said, Kiambu, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Meru, Machakos, Bungoma, Embu, Kericho, Kisii and Tharaka Nithi counties led in coffee production.

Laikipia County has the least area under coffee farming, measuring 56.40 hectares (ha). Kiambu leads with 20,369 ha, followed by Kirinyaga with 10,089.10 ha, and Murang’a with 9,841 ha.

Mr Kinyua said farmers shifting to coffee farming get higher returns. “Counties of Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Kericho, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, and Baringo are increasing their land under coffee,” said Kinyua. 

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