Coffee farmers allied to Murarandia Cooperative society in Murang’a county demand auditing of their society suspecting misappropriation of their money.
The farmers on Thursday said auditing of their society’s books was long overdue as they were last audited five years ago. They feared this was the reason they have been receiving low prices for coffee delivered to the society.
The management of the cooperative society with four factories, the farmers said, has not been convening annual general meetings to discuss matters affecting them.
The farmers who matched to the offices of the County Executive Member (CEC) for agriculture Mr. Albert Mwaniki demanded to be given permission to hold a special general meeting since the management was not willing to do so.
They said efforts to reach local cooperative officer has remained fruitless adding their demands could only be addressed at the county office.
One of the farmers, Samuel Ngure Mwangi stated that current officials of the society were voted out through a vote of no confidence in 2016 but were still in office.
“As the members of the society we are insulted and driven away whenever we ask for a meeting to be held and also for demanding for audit of our financial books,” said Ngure.
Another farmer, Mr. Elizaphan Mbuthia requested the society management to confirm with Equity, Amica and Cooperative banks whether they have outstanding debts.
The farmers further complained of their meager earnings saying that the returns they get from their cash crop cannot cover cost of production and cater for their families.
“The management has hiked the coffee prices for their own benefits as we get peanut returns where a kilo goes for sh. 25 compared to more than sh. 70 offered by other factories,” observed another farmer Mary Njeri.
Njeri noted that previously farmers assumed the miller that bought their coffee was responsible for low payments only to realize their society is responsible.
The CEC for agriculture promised to look into grievances of the farmers saying he will call a special meeting to meet the farmers together with society’s management.
Mwaniki noted that coffee prices have gone up and farmers should get better returns promising to solve leadership wrangles in the society.
By Bernard Munyao and Joysera Maina