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Agriculture and Food Association invites fresh license applications from players in the coffee value chain

The Agriculture and Food Association (AFA) has asked players in the coffee value chain to reapply for fresh licenses before the end of the month.

In a notice published on the AFA website, any person wishing to deal in coffee business for the next one year has until June 30 to submit fresh applications to the relevant licensing authority. According to AFA, the move is aimed at getting rid of coffee subsector of cartels that have been reaping farmers off their profits.

“The ministry has taken note of the many players participating in the coffee trade along the coffee value chain, the different roles they play from farm to cup and the challenges that coffee farmers face as a result of probable conflict of interest amongst the various categories of value chain players. To this effect and to streamline the licensing process to the provisions of the regulation (Crops (Coffee) Regulations, 2019) the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock Development hereby directs that all interested persons wishing to deal in coffee business must apply afresh for consideration by the relevant licensing authority before or on June 30,” reads the notice in part.

The Authority further says that it is also hoping to enforce strict adherence of the provisions Crops (Coffee) Regulations, 2019 which it noted were not being adhered to by some licensing authorities. According to provisions of the Crops (Coffee) Regulations 2019, coffee millers are expected to be licensed by the county government whereas coffee brokers renew their licenses with the Capital Markets Authority. Part III of the Act states that Coffee Buyers are to be licensed by AFA-Coffee Directorate.

“It is regrettably noted that provisions of the Crops (Coffee) (General) Regulations, 2019 have not been adhered to in some cases by all the licensing authorities. All licenses issued by different authorities run for a period of 12 months. Therefore, all existing licenses held by various coffee value chain players will expire on June 30, 2023,” the notice states.

The announcement comes weeks after the Agriculture CS, Mithika Linturi, vowed to crack the whip by revoking licenses of cartels who have infiltrated the coffee sub-sector. Speaking during the multi-stakeholder Coffee Farmers Summit in Meru on June 9, Mr Linturi said that no marketer found guilty of exploiting coffee farmers will be left off the hook when the ministry begins to clean up the mess that has continued to bedevil the coffee industry.

“We will sit down and see how to revoke those licenses so that we have a way to end the cartel nature. I will deal with it as long as I have the power of the law to do so,” said the CS.

By Wangari Mwangi

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