The Trade, Industrialisation and Cooperative Development Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya, has said the long awaited Sh. 2 billion Coffee Cherry Advance fund will be ready by end of January 2020.
Munya said the preparation for the advancement of the Cherry fund to farmers took time to make sure when it is finally released, payment will go directly to individual farmers.
He said by the end of January next year, farmers will start receiving the money which will be credited directly to their account and will be recovered after the farmer sells produce.
The CS said the challenges facing the coffee farmers, however, did not start with election of President Uhuru Kenyatta in office neither his predecessor Mwai Kibaki but have been there since time immemorial.
“We are developing a strategy which in the long run will deal with the challenges facing our coffee farmers today,” he said
Munya said in the strategy the government will have its part to fulfill, with the farmers also expected to be involved and fulfill their part.
He said for instance the cherry advance fund will enable the farmer to carry out his work and wait for the eventual sale of his coffee.
“The aim of the cherry crop advance is to ensure the farmer was able to buy the required inputs and pay for the labour without any stress and be able to repay back with ease after the actual proceeds from his crop are released,” he said.
He said the arrangement which has taken long time is to make sure the money goes directly to the farmer.
“That is what has resulted to the delay of the cherry advance fund, but as I have said, farmers will have the money before end of January 2020.” Munya said
He said there are those who were pushing for a hurried process to give them an opportunity of dipping their hands in the farmer’s money as they have done in the past”
“We have said this is not going to happen again, every farmer will be issued with a card to enable him access the money,” he said
The CS said the government has also taken to look for coffee markets and get out middle men who for a long time have been taking advantage of the farmers.
“How come all the time we are told the world coffee market is low, I was in Nebraska recently and a kilo of coffee was selling at Sh. 400, why get the farmers only Sh. 20, where did the other money go,” Munya wondered
He said the middle men who are not even involved in the farming of coffee ends up reaping the most from the coffee trade which should not be allowed.
The CS said County Governments should also take up farmers challenges and add up to what the National Government was doing as they also have their allocation to solve some of the problems facing coffee farmers in their localities.
Munya was speaking during a visit at Sagana Kenya Planters Co-operative Union (KPCU) stores in Kirinyaga.
By Mugucia Rugene