Quality crop pushes up value of local coffee at auction

A woman picks coffee berries at a Nyeri farm. PHOTO | FILE
A woman picks coffee berries at a Nyeri farm. PHOTO | FILE 

Coffee continued to perform well at the auction as quality crop pushed up the value even as the international market where Kenya trades the cash crop dipped last week.

On average, a 50-kilogramme bag of coffee at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) rose marginally to fetch Sh30,179 last week, up from Sh29,973 the previous week. 

“We are continuing to register good performance at the auction because of high volumes of good quality beans from farmers,” said NCE chief executive Daniel Mbithi who attributed the good performance to an increase in high quality crop from central Kenya.

At the New York Exchange, on which Kenya pegs its price, the value of the commodity dropped from 154 cents a pound to 150 cents in the week’s trading.

Mr Mbithi said he expects the trend to continue in the coming weeks due to good volumes that NCE is receiving.

The volume of coffee offered for sale in the latest auction rose to 26,000 bags compared with 20,000 bags in the previous sale.

According to the Coffee Directorate, the value of Kenyan coffee rose 69 per cent in three months to December due to a price increase of nearly one third.

The beverage earned the country Sh2.6 billion between October and December compared with Sh1.5 billion realised in the corresponding period in 2015.

The average price of a 50-kilogramme bag of coffee rose to Sh22,000 last year from Sh17,300 in 2015 representing a 30 per cent growth.

In April, Kenya will have an opportunity to promote its coffee to more than 15,000 delegates expected at the annual SCAA event in Seattle, US, after it was chosen as a model country in the cultivation of the crop.