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Farmers upbeat on increased coffee production following Kenya-Colombia Partnership

Coffee farmers in the country are hopeful of increased production and earnings following the partnership between Kenya and Colombia aimed at improving coffee farming.

The farmers are also upbeat of getting high yields and better returns as the government moves to implement bold reforms in the coffee sub-sector, in a bid to ensure farmers benefit from their crops and increase the country’s foreign income.

Speaking during a visit by a delegation of coffee farmers and researchers from Colombia, under the auspices of Colombia National Federation of Coffee Growers, at Coffee Research Institute (CRI) in Kiambu, the National Coffee Corporate of Kenya Chairman Francis Ngone said that the reforms being spearheaded by the office of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua have ignited a ray of hope for farmers across all coffee growing regions who were on the verge of losing hope on the crop.

“We are working relentlessly on the war against cartels who have held the coffee sector at ransom and benefitting from the farmers’ sweat. This is aimed at ensuring that farmers get better pay for their produce,” Ngone said.

The tour is a follow-up of DP Gachagua’s visit to Colombia in September last year, where he pushed for advanced cooperation between the two nations thus creating improved yields and income for Kenyan coffee farmers.

He added that the exchange programme between the two nations would benefit Kenyan farmers with expertise on better farming practices to maximize on production as well as open up more markets for Kenyan produce.

Speaking to KNA, the Chairman of Kiambu Brokerage Company David Njoroge urged the government to consider licensing private millers to improve on prices instead of leaving the mandate of coffee milling and selling solely to the New KPCU. He also advocated for strengthening of the Coffee Board of Kenya structures so as to improve on branding and marketing of Kenyan coffee.

CRI Director Dr. Elijah Gichuru said that the partnership with Colombian researchers would facilitate the introduction of new coffee varieties, fight pests and diseases as well as introduce better technology to promote coffee farming amid climate change.

He added that the government is focused on empowering small-scale coffee farmers since the cash crop plays a key role in enhancing the livelihoods of the farmers and the economy.

The team held a peer-to-peer session with the farmers on growing bushes to increase yields, crop fertilization, harvesting, milling, and marketing. They also toured the institution’s coffee farm and orchard.

By Carolina Kamande

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