Coffee sector players upbeat Gachagua steering reforms


A farmer tends to her coffee. FILE PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG

Stakeholders in the coffee sector say they are hopeful of tangible results after reforms targeting the production and marketing of the commodity were moved to the office of the Deputy President.

The coffee sub-sector implementation standing committee, which had been tasked with reviving the ailing sector, had been domiciled at the Office of the President during the previous administration.

President William Ruto on Monday, through executive order number one of 2023, moved the coffee reforms to DP Rigathi Gachagua’s office who will now be in charge of the docket.

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“Previously this task force on coffee reforms was under the Executive Office of the President, we didn’t see many changes in the sector and now that it has been moved to the DP’s office, we are waiting to see if there will be any deliverables,” said Peter Gikonyo, chairman of Kenya Coffee Producers Association.

The chairperson of the Caucus of the County Agriculture Chief Executive committee Members Kiplimo Lagat welcomed the move saying it will fast-track reforms in the sector.

“That was a good move by the President as some of these changes require political goodwill and the DP is one person who has a serious political connection,” said Dr Lagat.

He said, however, that the standing committee should be reconstituted to include farmers to ensure the reforms are not fought by growers.

“There must be a wide consultation that should bring farmers on board to ensure that these reforms are not opposed,” he said.

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The task force committee, led by Prof Joseph Kieyah, had proposed a raft of measures to be implemented by the government, which included a change in the mode of payment to the farmers, opening a window for direct coffee sales and re-organisation of the Nairobi Coffee Exchange.

Dr Ruto has retained the committee, which was created by the previous government.

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