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Commodities

Murang'a exotic coffee output hit by drought

A coffee farmer inspecting her crops
A coffee farmer inspecting her crops. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Coffee production in Murang’a County is forecast to drop 40 percent from the normal 1.6 million kilos in the season ending August partly owing to drought.

The drought from November 2018 to May 2019 saw many coffee trees wither with surviving experiencing erratic flowering.

According to a situational report to the Agricultural Food Authority (AFA) by area Coffee Development Officer Paul Mutua, the most affected variety is Ruiru 11.

“In the recent past, most farmers have moved from the traditional coffee varieties to the exotic ones such as Batian and Ruiru 11…while these varieties are good owing to their low cost of maintenance, Ruiru 11 especially gets adversely affected by low watering. This is the variety that will contribute to more than half of the total production decline anticipated,” he said.

He cautioned that farmers need to be sensitised on risks associated with migrating to new seed technologies.

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“Most are the times when these migrations have been profit-driven and managed by commercial enterprises out to acquire market for their products. As a result, farmers have been discarding what is deemed to be old technology for new technology, but on the cost benefit analysis, end up being losers,” he said.

He said there is a need for the county to invest in irrigation agriculture in all of its agribusiness ventures.

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