Murang’a County has set aside Sh1.3 billion to revive the coffee sector.
Governor Mwangi wa Iria said the cash would finance 300,000 farmers to plant an additional 50 coffee trees each, targeting production of 15 million kilogrammes by 2019.
The county will finance purchase of compost manure, fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides.
“The sole purpose is to make sure that we attain top quality in our coffee harvests since this is the area that has been dealing our farmers a fatal blow in terms of earnings,” he says.
The governor told the Business Daily the farmers produce an average 300,000kg of coffee a season, earning Sh9 million.
“This is because the quality of coffee being produced in Murang’a is of low quality, attracting Sh30 in the market as the buying price per kilo.
This is as opposed to the maximum Sh100 being paid out on average for top quality coffee,” he said.
Mr wa Iria said the earnings would rise to between Sh1.5 billion and Sh5 billion by 2019. The county-adopted coffee trees will be harvested and marketed separately for monitoring purposes.
The programme aims to dissuade farmers from abandoning the cash crop.
“Those with capital are engaging in horticulture farming as an alternative to coffee.
“Others are transforming their land into concrete jungles. But a majority of them are abandoning coffee farming to engage in nothing else of economic value,” said the county chief.
The release of the cash is awaiting authorisation by the county assembly.
“We have the county legislators in place and what remains now is their swearing-in ceremony and immediately we commence implementation of our 2017/18 budget,” he said.