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Economy

Coffee farmers to be paid from July under Sh3bn kitty

coffee farmer
A farmer inspects a coffee bush in Nyeri. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Coffee farmers will from July get advance payment from the Government under the Sh3 billion revolving fund to meet the harvesting cost of the beans.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday said the government has set aside the money through the Cherry Advance Revolving Funds to help cash-strapped farmers deliver the beans to the factories.

Most small-scale growers struggle to raise cash for harvesting expenses including picking of beans and delivery to factories. This has increased losses at the farm levels.

The government will recover the advance after farmers have sold their produce including a three per cent interest rate.

“All coffee farmers across the country will be able to access the cherry advance at a modest interest rate of three per cent,” said the President during the ongoing International Coffee Council at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

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The President also announced that under a new law, the coffee sector will usher in a new era of direct marketing by co-operative societies. Currently most of the coffee is sold through the auction at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange as most of the cooperative societies do not have access to direct market.

Governance record

Other reforms include the requirement that all coffee co-operatives present audited annual reports to the agriculture cabinet secretary within six months of every calendar year and to the public as well as hiring directors with good governance record.

“The inaugural audits under the forthcoming enhanced regulatory framework will cover the calendar year 2019, and shall be submitted by all co-operatives on or before December 31,” he said. Mr Kenyatta reckons coffee farming is A tool for easing poverty in rural areas.

The reforms will also include the rehabilitation of 500 pulping stations in 31 counties and ensuring farmers access adequate planting materials. Kenya is globally reputed for production of fine Arabica coffee that has high flavour and pleasant aroma. But production has plummeted to between 40,000 and 50,000 metric tonnes from a peak of 128,941 metric tonnes in the 1983/84 crop year.

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