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Murang’a government to engage youth in revitalization of coffee sector

Murang’a County Government in partnership with Murang’a Farmers Cooperative Union is working on plans to bring youth on board in revitalizing the coffee sub sector.

Each of the 146 coffee factories in Murang’a is expected to nominate three youths who will be trained on the crop farming.

The nominated youth will each have a demonstration farm of 100 or more coffee bushes, where they will be trained on how to nurture the plants, aimed at increasing production.

Murang’a Deputy Governor Stephen Munania speaking when he met coffee farmers allied to the union, said the demonstration farms will be used to teach farmers on how to increase coffee production.

The farmers’ union, Munania observed, will set aside pieces of land for demonstration farms saying it’s high time young people fully venture in coffee farming.

The deputy governor who was flagged by the Union Chairman Francis Ngone noted that coffee production has been low, hence the need to employ various measures to boost quality and production of the cash crop.

“We want to bring on board young people in the coffee sector. First we are starting with the demonstration farms which will be manned by selected youth nominated by each of the local coffee factories. These will serve as a training ground on how to increase coffee production in our county,” he said, while speaking at the offices of the farmers’ union in Murang’a town.

Currently, it has been established that the coffee sector is dominated by farmers aged above 50 years with calls to encourage young people to embrace coffee farming.

Munania asked members of the union to work closely with the county government to revive the coffee sub-sector, which has been rocked with numerous challenges.

“The county government is already working on policies which will help to weed out cartels, stop coffee theft and digitize the processing of coffee in local factories.

“The policies, which we hope will be in place within a period of three months will also help to reduce coffee wastage and improve coffee quality for better prices,” added the deputy governor.

He further said the devolved unit is currently working with an Italian firm to establish a laboratory in Murang’a which will help in checking the quality of coffee.

“Murang’a produces high quality coffee. Having a laboratory in the county will help in grading our coffee and this will help in marketing and sourcing best prices,” added the deputy governor.

Ngone said as a Union they will support measures the county government is putting in place to revamp the sector, adding that coffee still fetches good returns, but he decries cartels who have invaded the sector to exploit farmers by buying coffee at a meager price.

He asked farmers allied coffee societies not to fall in traps of cartels, who operate in cahoots with some officials of Nairobi Coffee Exchange to interfere with the prices.

“Let every factory consult with the union about prices and when to sell their coffee. Currently coffee is fetching good prices, but cartels are out to exploit our farmers,” he added.

The deputy governor continued, “Some individuals in collaboration with some government agencies are out to buy coffee at throwaway prices, but we will not allow our farmers to be manipulated. Let’s remain watchful as we consult one another.” 

By Bernard Munyao

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