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Coffee reforms to revitalize the sector into profitability

The Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Cooperatives and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Development, Simon Chelugui, has assured coffee farmers that the ongoing coffee reforms, will revolutionize the coffee sector and economically empower the farmers, who are the main stakeholders.

The CS who was speaking during the Coffee Cherry Revolving Fund (CCARF) sensitization and distribution programme, at Fort Tenan, in Kipkelion West, Kericho County, expressed confidence that the Coffee Bill 2023 and the Co-operatives Bill 2023, will enhance governance structures in Co-operatives and the agricultural sector.

While acknowledging that coffee contributed significantly to Kenya’s economic growth, he stressed that concerted effort and cooperation by all stakeholders, was key in revitalizing the sector, saying the government will economically empower small-scale coffee farmers in all the 37 coffee-growing counties.

“Through the Coffee Bill and the Cooperative Bill, we want to minimize the difference between what the farmer receives as payment and what the consumer pays in a coffee shop. We want a bigger percentage to go the farmer,” said Chelugui.

The CS assures farmers access to the Coffee Cherry Advance Revolving Fund, which was established to provide an affordable, sustainable, and accessible cherry advance to smallholder coffee farmers, through the new Kenya Planters Co-operative Union (KPCU), which has been mandated to manage and administer the Fund as per the Public Finance Management Act (Coffee Advance Revolving Fund) Regulations 2020.

“The Guarantee Minimum Returns for farmers per kilo is Sh. 80 which will be paid within a month after delivery of the coffee I want to commit and assure the farmers of Kericho, that the disbursement of the Cherry Advance Revolving Fund is uniform across the country, with the same rate the same method will be applied at the delivery of the Coffee Cherry Advance.” Chelugui added.

The CS also revealed that recently, 14 marketing agencies for farmers had been registered to have an opportunity to participate in the Nairobi Coffee Exchange, which is the central coffee auction, whose whole role is to provide a platform for buyers and sellers to trade coffee.

“In the new changes, we are also separating the licenses to millers’ licenses to marketers’ and licenses to brokers,’ because of that, we have created competition at the Nairobi Coffee exchange, improving the price of coffee, hence farmers getting empowered economically,” CS explained.

Kericho County Governor, Dr. Eric Mutai, promised coffee farmers in Kipkelion that he would continue supporting them, in a bid to improve the yields, including subsidizing inputs through co-operatives.

“My Administration has distributed over 300,000 seedlings for coffee farmers and has distributed 21 dry parchment equipment and 14 coffee pulping machinery besides investment in a mega warehouse at Kipkelion Coffee mill,” said Dr. Mutai.

Also present at the function were the Principal Secretary, State Department of Cooperatives, Patrick Kilemi, Kericho Senator, Aaron Cheruiyot, and Kipkelion West Legislator, Hillary Kosgei.

By Kibe Mburu

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