EDITORIAL: Resolve coffee rules row


Ministry of Agriculture CS Peter Munya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

That Kenyan farmers have been unable to sell their coffee because the Ministry of Agriculture has delayed publishing a notice extending trading regulations is a disgrace.

The Treasury had brought new rules transferring oversight of coffee auctions from the Coffee Directorate to the Capital Markets Authority.

The government said the decision will increase farmers’ earnings besides boosting transparency of transactions at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange.

But coffee marketers refused to trade under the new regime, prompting the Ministry of Agriculture to extend the old rules temporarily until last month.

With the end of the extension and the marketers declining, the sale of coffee has stalled.

Farmers are losing millions of shillings by the day and the impasse risks further demoralising companies and individuals from producing the cash crop.

The government needs to make a firm decision on the rules and procedures of trading coffee to end this confusion.

Smooth trading is a basic requirement if coffee was to reclaim its glory. Earnings from unroasted coffee dropped to Sh20.3 billion in 2019 and this disruption of transactions can only make this year worse.