Politics and policy
Coffee Board to change system of picking directors
Posted Tuesday, August 14 2012 at 21:15
- Agriculture permanent secretary Romano Kiome said stakeholder groups in the industry will now nominate their own leaders to serve as directors on the board.
- Selection of the officials to serve as directors of the industry regulator is currently at the discretion of the Agriculture minister who makes appointments in consultation with stakeholders.
The government has reviewed the selection process of farmers and millers’ representative to the Coffee Board of Kenya (CBK) to safeguard the interests of minority groups such as small-holder growers.
Agriculture permanent secretary Romano Kiome said stakeholder groups in the industry will now nominate their own leaders to serve as directors on the board.
“We have gazetted new rules that will allow for nomination of members of the board through the respective stakeholder groups,” he said.
Selection of the officials to serve as directors of the industry regulator is currently at the discretion of the Agriculture minister who makes appointments in consultation with stakeholders.
This method was adopted after the previous system of conducting elections for officials in various growing areas failed to guarantee the interests of all groups.
The High Court in May this year nullified the appointment of six directors to the CBK by Agriculture minister Sally Kosgei on grounds that the move contravened the Constitution.
The nullification followed an application by a group of farmers who claimed that the appointments denied them the right to democratic participation in the affairs of the board and a consultative process of election.
Both methods —direct appointment by the minister and election by members-- have however been criticised for being “non-inclusive”, leading to poor representation of the minority groups.
“It was initially believed elections would result in proper representation but the chaos that always characterised the process ruined such hope,” Dr Kiome said.
“The various organised stakeholder groups will now decide who represents them on the board.”
Several industry associations reached for comment by Business Daily declined to do so saying they had not seen the amended rules published by the government.
Political groupings and highly resourced cartels with interests in the coffee business also manipulated the outcome of such elections to plant their cronies on the board, industry sources said.
The PS said small-holder growers will select two of their members to serve as director under the new rules published on Friday.
Small-holder farmers have in recent years given up coffee farming citing poor earnings and turned to other crops or sold land for real estate.
Although Kenya is a small coffee grower compared to producers such as Brazil and Vietnam, its specialty beans are much sought-after for blending with those from other countries.