Coffee farmers take county government to court


NYERI COUNTY: More than 13 coffee co-operative societies have sued the Nyeri County Government over a proposal to market and mill their coffee.

In an application at the Nyeri High Court, the applicants are seeking a court order prohibiting the county government and the Coffee Board of Kenya (CBK) from interfering on matters relating to the marketing and milling of coffee.

They want the county government restrained from pulping, milling and marketing of coffee at KPCU Sagana mills or any other agent whom they have not approved.

The applicants further seek to have circular No 1, dated October 30, 2013 issued by the county government requiring them to market and mill their coffee through Sagana Coffee Mills limited quashed.

Subsequently, they have sought orders to compel the CBK to issue them with movement permits and to be granted leave to apply for an order prohibiting the government from enforcing the circular.

Last month, Justice James Wakiaga ordered that the status quo be maintained until January 15 when both parties will argue their case before him.

The applicants through lawyer Muthui Kimani had filed the suit under certificate of urgency accusing the CBK, which is named as the first respondent, of denying them movement permits.

Kimani said the move occasioned a total shut down of their factories, leading to massive pile-up of coffee and financial losses.

“This has also exposed the applicants to the risk of coffee theft in the factories,” Kimani said.

He said his clients had entered into exclusive contracts with different millers and marketers, which were legally binding and they might be sued for breach of contract.