Optimism High As Kenya’s Coffee Sector Starts To Regain Its Long-Lost Aroma

Optimism High As Kenya’s Coffee Sector Starts To Regain Its Long-Lost Aroma

Kenya’s coffee sub-sector is getting back its aroma following intensive reforms by the government that have, among other things, simplified its marketing.

Karoki Waiganjo, chair of a coffee cooperative society in Nyeri county said the stringent reforms have eliminated brokers and middlemen who have been milking farmers dry leading to a near-collapse of the industry.

The Thiriku Coffee Farmers' Cooperative Society chair said farmers are now getting favourable payments, including a high of Sh100 per kilogramme of cherry delivered last season.

This was after the farmers entered into a five-year agreement with the Dutch firm Trabocca, which is buying their coffee at Sh121 per kg.

 Coffee reforms Kenya

Karoki Waiganjo, chairman of Thiriku coffee growers’ cooperative society speaks to journalists on Wednesday.

"Right now, we have a good overseas buyer in the name of Trabocca and we received a payment of 121 shillings per kilogramme of cherry," he said, adding that the society retained Sh21 for administration and operational costs.

Waiganjo said that prompt and good payment is a motivation to farmers to increase production.

"We are paid immediately, we deliver our parchment to the miller and that's why we paid our farmers early last month (March)," he said.

At its peak, the society had an output of more than a million kilos of coffee per season. That figure has since fallen by over 85 per cent after frustrated farmers abandoned the crop.

"The society used to produce over one million kilogrammes of cherry but last season we got only 174,000 kilogrammes," Waiganjo said, adding that with the current rate of Sh100 per kilogramme that is guaranteed for the next five years, farmers will redouble production and ensure quality is maintained.

He, at the same time, promised to keep the momentum going by ensuring that the management exercises transparency and accountability in all financial dealings.

Waiganjo also called for the simplification of conditions set to access the Coffee Cherry Advance Fund, adding that the stiff requirements have led to the low uptake by farmers.