Kenya is mulling changing laws to compel coffee and tea co-operatives to process at least 50 per cent of their produce in a fresh value addition push that could raise farmers’ earnings fourfold.
Industry and Trade secretary Adan Mohamed says the campaign will also give an array of tax incentives to local processors.
“The government is looking to amend laws and policies governing agricultural commodities mainly coffee and tea to enhance value addition and attract premium prices at the international markets,” Mr Mohamed said.
“Our desire is to increase value addition up to 50 per cent in the medium term. Key mission is to work with local organisations already in value addition to assist them upscale their processing capacities,” said Mr Mohamed.
Kenya earned hard currencies worth Sh124.5 billion from export of tea and another Sh21.4 billion from raw coffee beans.
Most of the coffee is exported as raw beans and just five per cent is roasted, meaning Kenya misses out on the added value. Most global firms seek its arabica beans to blend with lower quality varieties.
Experts believe value addition will quadruple farmer’s earnings after Othaya-based coffee cooperatives earned Sh80 per kilogramme from roasted coffee, up from Sh20 for raw beans.