Coffee farmers in Murang’a want the regulations guiding issuance of cherry revolving fund to be established by mid-year.
The farmers said the fund will help revamp the sector which has been performing poorly and further curtail hawking of coffee.
Giving their views during a public participation session on the coffee cherry revolving fund which the government has set aside in the current financial year, the farmers asked for transparency in the process.
The money, farmers are being told will be advanced without interest but each farmer will cater for administration fee of three percent.
One of the farmers, James Mwaniki told the forum held in a Murang’a hotel on Tuesday that coffee theft should be dealt with to help farmers get returns from their produce.
With increased theft of coffee from factories, Mwaniki noted, farmers will not be in a position to repay the advanced money from the revolving fund.
Some farmers claimed that they have loans which have not been waived wondering if they will benefit from the revolving fund
The Chairman of t he Inter Agency Taskforce to develop regulations for coffee cherry advance fund, Joffrey Malombe said the fund will be advanced to farmers after they start delivering their coffee to factories.
He said the government has put stringent measures to curb massive stealing of coffee which has left many farmers without returns.
“Once the regulations are put in place, payment of cherry fund will be done within a period of 14 days and will help farmers not to be enticed to hawk their coffee,” added Malombe.
Currently, he noted, the National Treasury is working on application forms which will help farmers apply for the funds once the regulations are in place.
In attendance was the Murang’a County Woman Representative, Sabina Chege who lauded the government for coming up with the funds which will help farmers at grassroots.
Chege said the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU) should work to revive the machineries which will help in milling coffee.
The new KPCU, she added need to streamline marketing and payment of coffee to restore the trust farmers had on coffee as a source of income.
“The New KPCU should also check on loans advanced to farmers and come up with strategies to waive them and revamp the sub sector which has been doing poorly over years,” added Chege.
Meanwhile, the Murang’a East Deputy County Commissioner, Okaka Etyang who represented guest of honour and area County Commissioner Mohammed Barre in the function asked managers of coffee factories which have lost coffee through theft to step aside.
Okaka noted that most of coffee thefts are organized by those who work in the factories and challenged fellow administrators to ensure management of the affected factories vacate office.
“Stepping aside of the managers will help to nab the culprits behind coffee theft as from the look of things, the thefts are well orchestrated plans by people familiar with the factories,” added Okaka.
By Bernard Munyao