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Government to modernize coffee factories, boost quality for higher returns, says CS

The Government is in the process of modernizing coffee factories to improve the quality of coffee for good returns to farmers.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Peter Munya said Thursday that coffee prices were fairly good but the challenge was compromised by the quality of the commodity.
Speaking to leaders of various coffee cooperative societies from Nyeri County at Caritas hall in Nyeri town, Munya noted that the quality of the product is not determined at the farm level but also in processing and storage.
The meeting was convened to allay fears the proposed reforms in the sector and especially on the Cherry Advance Revolving Fund (CARF) that is currently being implemented to ensure farmers accessed credit facilities before payment of their coffee deliveries.
Munya pointed out that the processing machines currently in use in factories were obsolete and highly compromised the quality of coffee leading to low prices.
He disclosed that the government has set aside funds to undertake the process of modernizing the factories adding that the farmers would not be expected to meet the costs.
“Though the funds are not adequate we will start with one or two factories in each society but gradually we will reach all factories,” Munya said.
The CS added that the CARF is being managed by the new KPCU that has been revamped to ensure the interests of farmers are guarded and misappropriation of its resources curbed.
He told the leaders that government is currently running new KPCU but soon farmers would be allowed to elect their own representatives and manage the union.
The former Meru governor told the leaders that President Kenyatta directed that KPCU be revamped to ensure farmers benefited adding that the State had bought all the liabilities after liquidation and pumped resources to revive it. He added that despite the initiative, the assets still remained the properties of the farmers.
Munya at the same time urged coffee cooperative society leaders to digitize their factories to ensure optimal use of the equipment adding that some of the weighing machines were inaccurate leading to losses of farmer’s beans or the factory.
He added that all coffee societies’ headquarters would be computerized and networked to all stakeholders to ensure efficiency and quick delivery of services.
He further said engineers from the government were in the field doing costing on digitization adding that it would also help in stopping coffee thefts from the factories.
The CS disclosed that new KPCU is working closely with the Kenya National Trading Corporation to bring farm inputs closer to farmers.
Munya told farmers none would be compelled to sell coffee through new KPCU or be milled by the entity.
The leaders unanimously endorsed that CARF be handled through new KPCU.
Mr Munya was accompanied by the new KCPU chairman Henry Kinyua and Kenya National Trading Corporation Timothy Mirugi.
By Mwangi Gaitha

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