Members allied to Ng’araria Coffee Cooperative society in Murang’a County have lauded the recent government interventions that have seen an increase in coffee prices.
The farmers expressed satisfaction with the current prices, where a kilo of cherry is selling between Sh81 and Sh126, noting that once the new government reforms are fully implemented, the sector will create more job opportunities as people who initially abandoned the crop, will go back to coffee farming.
Led by their Cooperative Manager, David Ndung’u, the farmers also hailed Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya, for spearheading the revival of the country’s coffee sector, citing provision of subsidized fertilizer, aimed at boosting coffee production.
One of the farmers, Eunice Wambui, observed that they have been getting more returns than they used to get some years ago.
A coffee bush that produced an average of three or four kilos of cherry previously, is now yielding about 10 kilos.
“Reviving the coffee sector is very important to us. We can now depend on the crop which the majority of farmers had abandoned in the past,” stated Wambui.
She called on the government to expedite implementation all the remaining reforms, including streamlining issuance of the cherry fund, meant to increase coffee production.
Ndung’u noted that streamlining of the coffee marketing process, through the new KPCU as proposed by the government has contributed to increased earnings.
“The government has introduced new ways of managing coffee societies. This has helped remove corrupt officials who made farmers to incur losses. Now we are happy since over the last two years we have managed to get increased profits from coffee,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Manager has asked the government to increase the amount given through Cherry Advance Fund.
“The government should consider increasing the Coffee Cherry Advance Fund from Sh20 to Sh50 per kilo. The money will further help boost coffee production,” he added.
Former Planning Principal Secretary, Irungu Nyakera and who has been championing reforms in tea and coffee sectors, called on the government to continue focusing on improving livelihoods of the farmers.
He lauded the cherry advance fund but said more strategies are needed to ensure improved production and marketing of quality coffee.
Through his foundation, Nyakera who is also gunning for the county gubernatorial position has been donating metallic coffee drying beds to factories within Murang’a County, with a capacity to hold more than 3, 000 kilos of coffee to ensure quality of the product is maintained.
At the same time, the national government has embarked on a programme of installing digital milling machines to coffee factories across the country help in mitigating theft of the commodity through use of outdated machines.
By Bernard Munyao