Coffee farmers in Nyamira have been urged to embrace the farm input stimulus package E-subsidy programme in order to boost their cherry production in the region.
This advice was given by Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) for Agriculture livestock fisheries, cooperatives and blue economy, Lawrence Omuhaka while addressing coffee farmers in Nyamira observing that the sector has for a long time been dominated by private millers who exploit peasant farmers by underpaying them.
“Coffee farmers have continually incurred losses because they have been serving the interest of few private millers and brokers are gaining and making huge profits at the expense of innocently peasant coffee farmers a situation that government has put modalities to turn around.” The CAS observed.
“The high cost of production shouldered by farmers has discouraged most of them who have opted to try alternatives ways of sustaining their livelihoods which in turn hurts the country’s economy because the country has gradually lost her position as the top producer of top-quality premium grade coffee berries,” stated Omuhaka.
He explained that the government has decided to intervene and save the coffee farmer from perennial losses by introducing a farm input stimulus package E-subsidy programme which will enable them access inputs at affordable prices to boost the production.
The CAS also pointed out that the ministry will be rolling out the training of farmers in the coming days to enable them improve on their coffee farming methods and use of better fertilizers to boost their production hinting that Nyamira County produces an average of 2.5 kg of coffee per coffee tree against the national grid that is averagely at 2 kg per coffee tree.
The New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (New KPCU) Managing Director, Timothy Mirugi explained to farmers that the stimulus package will expect farmers to pay 60 per cent of the coffee input cost and a 40 per cent subsidy will be given by the national government.
The MD confirmed to Nyamira Coffee farmers that government has also put aside Sh. 2.7 billion that will help coffee farmers take loans at a rate of 3% interest rate to help them meet their pressing financial needs in an effort to sustain their livelihoods and encouraged them to access funds from the revolving kitty.
Commissioner of Cooperatives Mr. David Obonyo asked leaders of cooperatives to work on means of reducing costs and expenses to ensure farmers reap more from their coffee produce.
By Deborah Bochere and Hesbon Orieko