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Commodities

Coffee auction stalls again on poor supply of quality beans

Nairobi Coffee Exchange chief executive Daniel Mbithi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Nairobi Coffee Exchange chief executive Daniel Mbithi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) suspended the auction on Tuesday, marking the second time trading has been cancelled as a shortage of quality beans hit the weekly platform.

NCE chief executive officer Daniel Mbithi says the auction will resume next Tuesday when enough supply is expected.

NCE says there was a significant reduction of coffee supplied by farmers from the eastern part of the country, which is currently supposed to be the largest source of quality beans after the auction resumed from recess in July.

“We did not conduct the auction on Tuesday because we did not get enough coffee for trading,” said Mr Mbithi.

The auction each week requires about 11,000 tonnes of coffee for it to sustain trading according to NCE.

The new crop from eastern Kenya had helped to push up the price of the commodity to Sh23,587 for a 50-kilo bag, which is the highest value coffee attained after resuming July. It dipped to 19,055 in last week’s sale.

Coffee earnings as at the end of August, 2017, increased 10 per cent compared to last year resulting from high demand from roasters as low supply of the produce hit the country. 

NCE in a report said the crop earned Kenya Sh15.3 billion compared with Sh13.9 billion.

About 85 per cent of Kenyan coffee is sold through the auction, with the remainder sold directly to buyers overseas.

The government has been pushing for direct sales to enable growers earn much from their crop by eliminating the middlemen who reportedly exploit farmers through the auction.

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