Coffee farmers in Mt Kenya seek direct access to buyers – Capital Business
NYERI, Kenya, March 25 – Coffee farmers in the Mt Kenya region want the Kenya Kwanza government to open up marketing of the crop through the scrapping of the Nairobi coffee exchange and allowing farmers to deal directly with buyers.
Speaking during a farmers’ field day at Ndaroini coffee factory in Mathira, the farmers said that the so-called reforms will not bear fruits unless they are allowed to sell directly to buyers in need of specialty coffee globally.
“The so-called reforms currently being initiated are of no consequences to coffee farming, what our Deputy president and MPs from coffee growing areas need to address is the marketing of the crop, currently they are only eight brokers in Nairobi auction who collude and set up prices, when will the farmers earn from their sweat?” wondered Joseph Mukua chairman of the factory.
Mukua said that unless farmers are allowed to sell directly to buyers they will still be exploited and coffee production will continue to deteriorate.
“At the moment our MPs should not be crying over the poor prices in the auction what they should be doing now is to come up with a law allowing farmers freedom of marketing their products through direct sales this is the way to go,” said Mukua.
The official said that so far many buyers who are in need of specialty coffees are being curtailed by colonial law prohibiting farmers from selling their crop directly unless through the auction.
According to acts that govern sale of coffee, no one is allowed to sell clean coffee unless through the Nairobi coffee exchange which is currently according to farmers realizing poor prices of between USD300 to 350 for 50 kg of clean coffee.
The assertion by farmers comes a time when there is fear of poor pay this year unlike other years when farmers were paid Sh100 and above for a kilo of cherry delivered.
President William Ruto appointed his deputy Rigathi Gachagua to oversee reforms in both coffee and tea and ensure farmers are paid well.