Nyeri to subsidise fertiliser prices for coffee farmers

The Nyeri county government is set to table a Bill to subsidise fertiliser prices for coffee farmers.

Governor Nderitu Gachagua said the intention is to bring down fertiliser prices by Sh500 per bag.

“We are proposing to the county assembly to subsidise fertiliser prices so that farmers can increase their production,” the governor said while addressing farmers from Rugi Co-operative Society at Karundu coffee factory in Mukurwe-ini Thursday.

The county will also provide the coffee societies with agronomists to enhance quality production.

The agronomists will advise farmers on issues of coffee husbandry, supplementing efforts of agricultural extension officers.

The county government also plans to have all coffee societies in the county buy farm inputs collectively.

Other drastic measures aimed at improving the industry include minimising the number of co-operative societies management team from nine to three, with the county government taking up the role of recruiting the top managers.

Mr Gachagua said a team of coffee buyers from the US is touring the county to engage farmers.

“The team is here under the invitation of the county government and farmers,” said Mr Gachagua.

The US-based coffee buyer, Green Coffee Vault, sealed a deal with the farmers to buy the produce at Sh80 per kilogramme.

Last year, coffee farmers from the society got as low as Sh29 per kilogramme of coffee sold.

Farmers are set to earn more in the subsequent years once value addition is successfully effected, they said.

Timothy O’Brien, a coffee specialist with Green Coffee Vault, said Nyeri coffee is on high demand all over the world.

High quality

“I came to buy high quality coffee and make sure that the farmers who produce good quality are rewarded for the quality coffee they produce,” said Mr O’Brien.
He said many others would visit the county, attracted by the quality of coffee.

County executive member in charge of Trade Stanley Miano said a team had visited more than 20 US states before identifying the current buyer who met all the requirements.
So far 8,500 bags of coffee from the society have been delivered to the Sagana Coffee Mill, owned by the Kenya Planters Co-operative Union.

The mill was recommended since it has the state-of-the-art facilities and is currently rented to the Kenya Co-operative Coffee Exporters Mills (KCCM).