All coffee factories within Murang’a are directed to operate fully under the county farmers’ cooperative union.
Operations of the factories as semi-autonomous entities is said to have contributed to downfall of the sector, which used to support many farmers in the region.
The county governor Mwangi wa Iria has said measures have been put in place to ensure Murang’a Farmers Cooperative Union takes full control of all local coffee factories.
The union has been dormant for years, leaving the factories to operate individually, thus occasioning mismanagement of the facilities and poor marketing of the farmers produce.
The governor, while meeting delegates from all the 146 coffee factories said that the county government will only partner with the union on behalf of the farmers saying it will be hard for his administration to deal directly with individual factories.
The sector, Wa Iria noted will only be fully revived if the operations of the factories and marketing of the cherries are done by one body and that’s the union.
“Coffee has been a thorn in fresh of farmers in this county. Operations of factories individually have occasioned mismanagement of the sector leading to poor earnings and accruing of loans which leave farmers frustrated,” added Wa Iria.
He stated that there is huge discrepancy in payments of coffee citing cases where a factory is paying Sh. 90 per kilo while another is paying at Sh. 19 per kilo of coffee delivered.
“It poses a question why a factory can pay a lot of money while another pays meager price for coffee and all the factories are in the same county! By putting the union on top of the operations of all the factories we shall be able to eliminate these price differences,” observed Wa Iria.
“The union will be structured to be borrowing money on behalf of factories and this will minimize exploitation of the factories and ensure the farmers get better payments for their crop,” said the governor.
The county government, he said, will dedicate resources to coffee farmers through the union which will handle marketing of coffee and management of the factories.
Meanwhile, the governor hailed measures which the county government took some years back saying they have greatly contributed to increase of coffee production.
In 2014, the county government distributed high yielding coffee seedlings, while distribution of organic manure has been going on annually.
With increased production of coffee, Wa Iria said what is remaining is to streamline marketing of the produce and management of coffee factories to ensure farmers get better returns of their coffee.
By Bernard Munyao