Plans are underway to supply coffee farmers with farm inputs in bid to increase production, Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives, Micro and Small Enterprise Simon Chelugui has said.
The CS who was addressing the media in Nanyuki at Fairmount Mt. Kenya Safari Club during a four-day retreat for top government officials that kicked off Thursday said the government targets to increase coffee production from 37.5 metric tonnes to 60 metric tonnes.
“As a ministry, we have set ourselves a target to improve coffee production in this country through extension services in partnership with the agriculture ministry and promotion of good prices abroad so that we can give farmers value for money,” said the CS, adding that the ultimate goal is to produce 140 metric tonnes annually.
Chelugui revealed that, with concerted effort to revamp the coffee sector, Kenya will benefit with about Sh.150 billion as foreign exchange.
The CS also noted that milk production in the country is not enough and hence the government is keen on stabilizing animal feed prices this year and improving extension services in a bid to double milk production.
“Currently, Kenya produces and processes 1.5 million litres of milk which is not enough to serve our needs and that is why we have some inputs across the region and abroad,” said Chelugui.
He revealed the government will be touring Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to establish a new market for milk from the country.
“KCC and other milk processors are running at 50 per cent, we have huge capacity, we have invested heavily in KCC and we can handle more than that. We are looking for markets outside and this way, we will be able to give farmers better prices,” said the CS.
He further pointed out that the government will also utilize idle lands in housing projects and address housing crises in the country.
For the Hustler fund initiative, the CS revealed that by Thursday, the government had disbursed Sh 13.34 billion and the amount saved was over Sh.650 million.
“We have disbursed this money to 17.4 million Kenyans and we have received in repayment sh.5.5 billion and number of transactions are over 22 million. We believe Kenyans are borrowing and utilizing this fund and it is addressing the basic needs of many Kenyans who were locked in by digital lenders,” said Chelugui.
Meanwhile, the retreat that kicked off today is expected to conclude on Sunday with a range of issues from health care, security, food security among others things.
President William Ruto and His Deputy are among the dignitaries attending the retreat, which will be the first meeting of Cabinet secretaries and other top government officials since last year’s general election.
By Muturi Mwangi