Coffee factories within Murang’a County are set to get new pulping and weighing machines to help curtail wastage and improve coffee quality.
The local county administration has set aside Sh100 million to procure the new machines which will be distributed to all 144 coffee factories.
Governor Mwangi Wa Iria has said the procurement process has started and by the end of the year the machines will be installed and operational in the factories.
The factories, majority of which were established during the independence period have been using aged machines causing farmers to incur huge losses.
Addressing farmers in Maragua, Wa Iria noted that the old machines are to blame for wastage during the pulping process.
“In effort to revive the coffee sector as we help farmers get more income, we decided to replace pulping machines in all the local coffee factories,” Wa Iria said.
“We will also replace old weighing machines which have not been giving right weight records thus affecting farmers’ returns,” added Wa Iria.
Speaking during commissioning of a new coffee mill, the governor castigated some officials of cooperative societies who have been taking advantage of the old machines to exploit farmers.
“Faulty machines which could not give right weight readings were to the advantage of unscrupulous officials who wanted to take advantage of the challenge to exploit farmers. The new machines will be digital and will give the exact number of kilos a farmer has delivered,” he divulged.
The governor further said in efforts to revive the sector which has not been performing well for years, the county administration will spearhead a partnership between the societies and financial institutions in which farmers will get subsidized farm inputs.
Cheap farm inputs, he added, will go a long way to boost coffee production, saying currently coffee production has been low due to expensive inputs which many farmers cannot afford.
In 2020, the county produced more than 30 million kilos of coffee with stakeholders saying Murang’a has potential to produce more than 100 million kilos. The farmers will also be issued with a high yielding coffee variety from next rain season.
The governor instructed the societies to make arrangements of giving coffee seedlings to farmers so as to replace the colonial variety whose production has gone low.
Between 2014 and 2015, the county administration issued farmers with Batian coffee variety which is currently more than 15 kilos of cherry per bush with farmers requesting the county government to deploy extension officers to help them in increasing production.
By Bernard Munyao