Coffee price rises as high quality beans increase

Improved quality of beans has raised price at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange. FILE PHOTO
Improved quality of beans has raised price at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange. FILE PHOTO 

Coffee prices increased by 3.2 per cent in last week’s auction as quality beans and high international demand continue to push up the value of Kenyan produce.

A 50 kilogramme bag traded at Sh22,624 compared to the previous week where it fetched an average Sh21,917.

The coffee price has been rising at the New York exchange in the last few weeks from a low of 115 US cents a pound in the previous sale to 122 last week.

“We are witnessing good price because of good quality beans and rising international prices that have helped the local commodity to perform better,” said Daniel Mbithi, the Nairobi Coffee Exchange chief executive.

The auction has been enjoying good prices since the beginning of the year as the much-sought after high quality beans from central Kenya started trickling into the market. Harvesting of the main crop from the eastern part of the country came to an end last November.

This comes against the backdrop of appointment by the president this month of a 19-member committee to address the challenges facing coffee farmers with some opting to uproot the crop.

The committee will be chaired by Professor Joseph Kieyah assisted by Agriculture Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe, according to a Gazette Notice.

It draws members from the government and private sectors with lawyers Dann Mwangi and Morris Kaburu sitting in as joint secretaries.

The team faces a hard time returning sanity in the sector reportedly dominated by cartels as real estate expands into farmlands. For years farmers have suffered in the hands of brokers who offer low prices for their commodity only to later sell the same at a premium in the world market.

Coffee remains a major cash crop and top foreign exchange earner for the Kenyan economy though and is ranked the fifth largest contributor to the gross domestic product.