Schemers and perpetrators of increased coffee theft in the country will soon be brought in book, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has said.
He observed that some coffee millers were behind coffee theft from factories thus denying farmers the opportunity to earn from their cash crop.
On Thursday after meeting officials of coffee societies in Murang’a, Munya noted that most of the coffee thefts were inside jobs and some millers were involved in the heists.
In past years, farmers have decried huge losses after their coffee which they deliver in their respective factories was stolen.
Towards the end of last year and during the first three months of 2020, about six factories in Murang’a lost delivered coffee, incidences farmers claimed were inside jobs.
Munya said the ministry was conducting investigations and any miller found to be part of coffee theft would lose the operation license.
“Millers be warned. We will not tolerate you if you are involved in coffee theft. Your operation license will be cancelled and you will face the full force of law,” said Munya on Thursday at Kenol market.
He said new security strategies would be employed in all coffee factories to cease the increased thefts which usually left farmers without earnings.
“Every coffee society is expected to install a digital alarm system and employ trained security agents. Some measures need to be implemented the soonest to stop coffee theft,” said Munya who was accompanied by Murang’a governor Mwangi wa Iria and Woman Representative Sabina Chege.
Munya said the new changes the government is working on in the coffee sub sector were meant to support and revive the sector which has not been performing well for years.
“Coffee prices have gone up and with the new changes we are making, the sector is expected to do better and support farmers,” said the CS.
On Cherry Advance Fund, Munya said structures to issue the funds were ready and farmers could go ahead and apply for the money to support their production.
Last financial year, the government set aside Sh3 billion cherry advance funds to help farmers boost production of coffee.
Munya said the money would go directly to farmers who have applied and not to societies as it was speculated before.
“The farmers who qualify for the funds will go straight to their accounts and not through their societies. I appeal to farmers to apply for the funds as application forms are ready,” added the CS.
On his part, Murang’a governor Mwangi wa Iria said his administration would deploy extension officers to support the increase of coffee production.
Since the beginning of his administration, Wa Iria employed various measures including issuance of high yield coffee seedlings, organic manure, auditing of coffee societies; measures which have played a part to increase coffee production.
While lauding the increase of price of coffee in recent times, the governor said he would work with security officers to ensure theft of coffee is stopped.
By Bernard Munyao