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KPCU explores Nyeri coffee milling,marketing partnership

The New Kenya Planters and Cooperative Union (New KPCU) has initiated talks with the Nyeri County Government with the view of positioning itself as a potential miller and marketer for Nyeri coffee.

The KPCU delegation expressed its commitment to supporting the county in restoring coffee production to its former glory days.

“We are here to strengthen the partnership between the New KPCU and Nyeri County. We want to assure farmers that New KPCU is a good partner; we are going to mill and sell coffee for you,” said New KPCU Chairman Daniel Kiprotich.

Kiprotich was speaking during a meeting between Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga, the New KPCU Chairman, and Managing Director Mr. Timothy Mirugi, which was also attended by Trade, Culture, and Cooperative Development CEC Ms. Diana Kendi.

According to Kiprotich, the revival of the ailing coffee sub-sector is one of the key programmes under the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda, which is being targeted with the aim of spurring quick economic growth.

“Through the partnership with county governments,” Kiprotich said, “they intend to ensure that the small-scale coffee farmers in the county get the best value for their produce.”

“As a country, we have lost a big market share globally, and we want to revive it. We want to start a working relationship with Nyeri County, which is the leader in coffee production, so that we can get coffee beyond what we had 30 years ago. And this is the only way that farmers will be able to have money in their pockets in line with the presidential dream,” he said.

Despite being a renowned producer of specialised coffee yielding grades AA, AB, BB, and C, poor returns, which range between Sh 80 and Sh 100 per kilogramme of coffee delivered to factories, have seen more farmers in the county abandon the crop for the real estate market.

Coffee farmers have been pushing for an audit into the conduct of private coffee millers and marketers, whom they blame for ripping them off by under-declaring coffee grades and exaggerating milling losses on the parchment coffee delivered to farmers’ cooperatives.

On his part, the county boss expressed the county government’s commitment to working with the New KPCU, which he termed as a trusted miller and trader. He said that his government will continue to create an enabling environment for the revitalization of the limping coffee sub-sector by working with trusted millers and traders.

Kahiga said that the county department of agriculture had already started implementing interventions that would increase production, thus giving the county a better bargaining chip at the coffee trade market.

“Through the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, and Aquaculture Development, we have purchased lime, fertilisers, and good-quality coffee seedlings for the farmers. Following concern over the low production of coffee due to unsustainable farming practises that have degraded soil quality, we procured three soil testing machines to help improve the soil quality,” said Kahiga.

“The department is also in collaboration with the University of Nairobi and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) to analyse and improve the soil texture,” he added.

By Wangari Mwangi

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