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Climate change, urbanization affecting coffee production in Kiambu

Kiambu Coffee Growers Cooperative Union Director Peter Njogu has decried the current poor state of coffee production in the county.

Speaking to KNA, he noted that the biggest hindrance in the coffee industry in the region was urbanization which has seen residents converting their agricultural lands into Real Estate.

“People are converting agricultural lands meant for farming production into housing land. For example, some parts of Kiambu road which was meant for coffee growing has been converted into real estates and residential places,” he said.

He added that climate change has also played a big role in lowering coffee production and forcing farmers to resort to other ways of investing.

“The cutting down of trees affects the growth of the coffee due to lack of rains and this has led to inhabitation of different pests and diseases thus affecting the production negatively,” Njogu added.

Njogu urged the Nairobi Stock Coffee Exchange (NSCE) to reduce the involvement of auctioneers in coffee selling and instead indulge with the farmers directly saying this will fetch them good prices unlike the traditional routes of auction or cartels

The Nairobi Coffee Exchange is mandated to manage the coffee central auction in the country.

Njogu urged the government to continue fighting for farmers by coming up with right policies as well as refrain people from converting agricultural farms into commercial and residential estates.

Tom Njoroge, a middle-aged coffee farmer from Kiambu County talking to KNA said that as farmers they have been experiencing challenges especially when it comes to coffee prices due to middle men.

“Farming has been my lifetime job and the production has been amazing but the prices at which our products are being bought by the middle men is demoralizing and that is why most people are moving away from coffee farming,“he said.

He however acknowledged that the current prices by the government of Sh100 per kg is a good move but it is still little if they look at the investment and effort they put in from production to the harvest.

According to the economic survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) 2021 the coffee production dropped by 18 percent. The output was recorded at 36,900 tonnes in the 2019/20 season, down from 45,000 tonnes in the previous year.

The Ruiru 11 variety is the most grown coffee type in Kiambu due to its high productivity and ability to resist pests and diseases.

By Noel Nanjala and Naomi Wangari

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