12th February 2018 By Joseph Kipkoech
Governors from coffee-growing counties have agreed to support proposals being discussed by stakeholders to revive the cash crop.
During a two-day meeting organized by the coffee Sub-Sector Implementation Committee (CSIC) in Naivasha, 20 governors promised to support reforms being pursued by the committee and other chain players.
Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria on behalf of his colleagues said the counties will support the proposals to ensure the sub-sector regained it’s glorious days.
‘’We are in support of the reforms being fast-tracked by the government. Our main concern is to assist farmers gain strong financial base and thus be able to meet their financial obligations,’’ Mwangi said.
Proposals include establishing a unit that will handle all proceeds from sale of beans.
The committee appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta has been tasked together with value chain players to revive the industry. CSIC drafted ‘’The Coffee (General) Regulations 2016’’ which are currently undergoing discussion among the stakeholders before they are implemented.
A key proposal in the regulations is establishment of the Central Depository Unit, a platform that will handle proceeds of the sale of coffee by auction or by direct sales.
The committee plans to push review of the current marketing laws to allow coffee growers to directly trade their coffee in the Nairobi Coffee Exchange. This entails combining various licences-pulping, milling, power and marketer-along the value chain into one licence.
Other reforms include restructuring co-operative societies that are currently grappling with governance issues at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange. Co-operative societies should be paying farmers 85 percent of net earnings from the current requirement of 80 percent.
Sh7.5 billion is the amount stakeholders believe coffee industry requires to realise complete revival and be profitable again.
‘’As governors we are concerned with the declining output which has contributed to low payments and lack of morale and to a large extent increase in poverty, among other economic miseries, ‘’ Mwangi said.
It was agreed that the industry needs strong financial support to the tune of Sh7.5 billion in order to realise complete revival. The national government will avail Sh4.4 billion in the next financial year while counties will inject Sh3.1 billion.
‘’The national government, governors, farmers, key government agencies and other value chain players are in agreement that the coffee sub-sector needs to be revived,’’ he said.
Industry and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Mr. Adan Mohammed said the government is planning to amend laws and policies governing agriculture export commodities with a view to enhancing value addition.
‘’Government strategy is increase value addition of local products to more than 50 percent. Doing so will qualify local products to attract premium prices at the international market,’’ he said.