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Black gold inches closer to reclaim lost glory

The coffee sub sector is slowly reclaiming its glorious past if the recent favourable payment to farmers by a Coffee Cooperative Society in Nyeri County is anything to go by.

Thiriku Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Society in Tetu Sub-County paid Sh 121 per kilogramme of cherry delivered last season, a pointer to a bright future in the agricultural sub sector.

According to the society chairman Mr Cyrus Karoki Waiganjo, the farmers entered into a five-year agreement with a foreign buyer, Trabocca from the Netherlands who is buying their coffee.

The chairman of Thiriku coffee growers’ cooperative society speaks to KNA. Photo by Mwangi Gaitha

Speaking to KNA at the society premises, Waiganjo noted that the prompt and good payment is a motivation to farmers to go back to the farm and increase production.

He added that the society has kept on changing marketers in search of good prices pointing out that they (marketers) have been the major hindrance to farmers receiving better returns from their coffee.

“Right now we have a good overseas buyer in the name of Trabocca and we received a payment translating to a 121 shillings per kilogramme of cherry,” said Waiganjo adding that Sh 100 per kilogramme was paid to the farmer while the society retained Sh 21 for administration and operational costs.

He added “We are paid immediately, we deliver our parchment to the miller and that’s why we paid our farmers early last Month (March) unlike when they were paid in the months of June, July or August.”

The chairman noted that due to poor payment, leadership wrangles in the society, mismanagement and lack of transparency from previous officials, farmers were demotivated and abandoned the crop leading to minimal production.

“The society used to produce over one million kilogrammes of cherry but last season we got only 174,000 kilogrammes,” he said.

He said with the current rate of Sh 100 per kilogramme that is guaranteed for the next five years, farmers will redouble production and ensure quality is maintained while the management will exercise transparency and accountability in all financial transactions.

Some of the trophies won by Thiriku coffee growers society due to producing high quality coffee. Photo by Mwangi Gaitha

Waiganjo hailed the government for introducing stringent reforms in the coffee industry to eliminate cartels who have been milking the farmers dry.

He at the same time called for the simplification of conditions to access the Coffee Cherry Advance Fund by farmers adding that the stiff requirements have led to the low uptake by the growers.

Speaking during the same occasion, a farmer James Gitonga appreciated the prompt and good payments adding that they are now motivated and would redouble efforts to increase production.

By Mwangi Gaitha

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