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County to deploy managers to local coffee factories

Murang’a governor Mwangi Wa Iria addressing members of press before Christmas festivities at Ihura stadium in Murang’a town on December 24, 2018 Photo by Bernard Munyao

Murang’a county government will from 2019 deploy managers to all local coffee factories to improve management and stem coffee theft.
The move, according governor Mwangi wa Iria will help in achieving proper management of the factories which he said have been run down over the years, subjecting farmers to untold miseries.
Speaking during the eve of Christmas festivities at Ihura Stadium, the governor noted that the current factory management has been marred with run-away corruption and theft of coffee cherries making farmers to incur huge losses.
Wa Iria’s sentiments come at a time when several factories in the county have experienced massive theft of coffee cherries as they waited for to be delivered to processors.
These incidents of theft end up leaving farmers without payments for their produce delivered to the factories, amid allegations that senior managers of their respective societies were behind the scam.
The governor said that the county will deploy a manager, fully paid for by the devolved administration in each of the coffee factories, to ensure accountability and effective management.
He said the managers will be deployed in the factories for a period of one year and will be reporting directly to him.
“Corruption, poor management of the coffee factories can be blamed for downfall of the sector. The managers will be expected to ensure the factories were well managed and farmers’ produce taken care of,” added Wa Iria.
According to statistics from Coffee directorate, between 2017 and 2018 the production of coffee in the county rose from 16 million to 35 million kilogrammes, following the impact of debt waiver to coffee societies by the national government, as well as interventions by the county government, specifically the introduction of Ruiru 11 seedlings and subsided manure.
During his first term as governor, Wa Iria championed issuance of new variety of coffee seedlings, which has seen increase of production of coffee in the county.
The seedlings which were planted in 2014 have now matured into coffee bushes, giving farmers the much needed hope of earning better returns from the commodity.
Meanwhile, some coffee factories have gone for several years without paying farmers of their produce owing to persistent incidents of theft.
Subsequently, a section of farmers have opted to hawk their coffee to private millers as a way of protesting against poor and delayed payment by their societies.
Farmers are now demanding that the factories must employ qualified managers and marketing agents in order to ensure they get better returns for their coffee.
They have also appealed to government to stop theft of coffee cherries, while expressing concern that no culprit has ever been prosecuted for coffee theft, despite rampant cases of the vice.
By Bernard Munyao

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