Coffee prices hit year-to-date low as main season ends

NCE chief executive Daniel Mbithi
NCE chief executive Daniel Mbithi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya’s coffee shed 10 per cent in this week’s trading as the main crop season comes to an end, pushing down the price of the commodity to the lowest level recorded since the beginning of the year.

Market report from the Nairobi Coffee Exchange indicates on average a 50- kilo bag of the produce fetched Sh13,696 down from Sh15,087 in the previous trading held last week.

NCE chief executive Daniel Mbithi attributed the decline to high volumes of low-quality beans, with only two sales remaining before the auction takes a one-month recess.

“We had high volumes of lower quality this week as the main season comes to an end and that is what pulled the price down,” said Mr Mbithi

The main season began in December last year when the auction started receiving high-quality coffee from central Kenya.


Mr Mbithi said the trading will close in May and reopen in the second week of July to accommodate short-term crop coming from eastern and western Kenya.

The government is revitalising the coffee industry and recently received Sh1.5 billion from the World Bank for an exercise that will see the country increase production of specialty coffee to boost the dwindling revenue from the crop. Part of the funds, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, would be used in sourcing of direct markets for farmers overseas as the government seeks to expand the direct window from the current 12 percent.

Coffee earnings dropped by Sh2 billion at the end of February compared with the same time last year following a slump in volumes and depressed prices at the auction and the international market.

Market report by the NCE indicated the crop earned Kenya Sh6.6 billion at the end of February, down from Sh4.5 billion that was realised in the previous year.

The first phase of the funds will cover Muranga, Kiambu, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Machakos, Kirinyaga and Nyeri counties.

About 60 percent of the funds will be used automation of cooperative processes and modernisation of the aged equipment at coffee cooperatives, which affects efficient production.