Seven cooperative societies in Murang’a have received funding amounting to Sh 80 million to help boost coffee production and efficiency during processing in factories.
Each of the societies will get Sh7.5 million which will help in providing subsidies towards increase of coffee production which over recent years have been declining.
The money from the World Bank in partnership with Murang’a county government is also targeted to enable each factory to get an eco-pulping machine to help reduce consumption of water and wastage of coffee beans.
Issuing the cheques, Governor Dr Irungu Kang’ata said the support will help farmers increase production saying currently coffee bushes produce about three kilos.
“With availability of subsidised inputs, farmers will help to increase production to more than 10 kilos of coffee. Modernization of our factories will also help reduce wastage thus increasing farmers’ returns,” he said.
The money which is channeled through National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP) will also help in renovating coffee factories which majority are dilapidated.
The societies which benefited with the funds include, Ruchu-Gacharage, Kangunu, Kamacharia, Thangaini, Karurumo, Kangiri and Kanganda.
“The money will help renovate coffee storage tanks by installing tiles, install security equipment and also enable farmers to get cheap fertiliser,” said the County Executive Member for Agriculture Mr. Kiringai Kamau.
Kamau who spoke during the occasion held at the county headquarters expressed concerns over the huge decrease of coffee production in Murang’a saying the county administration is working on various measures to increase production.
“Some years back, the county used to produce 600, 000 metric tonnes of coffee annually but this has gone down to about 200, 000 metric tonnes. With the help from the World Bank, we aim to increase coffee production,” said Kamau.
Kamau further said his department is working out to spearhead the value addition of coffee saying some factories have already started roasting and packing of coffee for local consumption.
“Our aim is to see coffee do value addition and this will eventually increase income to farmers. My appeal to farmers is to strive to increase production since the county government will put in place policies and provide infrastructure to revamp the sector,” he added.
During the occasion, 34 motorcycles were issued to agricultural extension officers to help them easily reach farmers in their farms.
NARIGP County Coordinator John Wahienya said every ward will have one motorcycle to assist movement of agricultural officers who will train and support farmers to increase production.
Wahienya observed that apart from coffee, NARIGP is also working with farmers of other crops like bananas and horticulture to help in production and value addition.
By Bernard Munyao