Market News

Coffee earnings fall Sh139m in eleven months


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

The value of Kenya coffee dropped by Sh139 million in November compared with the same period last year on account of low prices.

A market report from Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) indicates the commodity earned the country Sh776 million in the period under review compared with the corresponding period’s Sh916 million, representing a 15 per cent decline.

NCE chief executive officer Daniel Mbithi attributed the decline to low prices with 50 kilogramme of the produce fetching Sh20,651 down from Sh22,546 last year.

“Volumes realised matched those of the same time last year. The average prices, however, were lower by 8.41 per centage points,” he said.

Mr Mbithi said there was no growth in volume during the month because the weather was too cold to allow much of the main crop to be dried and access the market in good time. 

The auction is currently relying on the main crop from central Kenya to boost sales after the short-term crop came to an end in October, forcing the trading to be suspend on some occasions for lack of enough coffee.

READ: US now top buyer of Kenyan coffee with Sh7bn purchase

Central has boosted the price at the auction with a bag of coffee on average trading at Sh23,587 in the latest sale, marking the highest price registered in 2017/2018 crop year.

The drought in the first quarter of the year helped to boost the earnings by 10 per cent as at the end of August 2017 by raising demand from roasters.

The NCE in a report said the crop earned Kenya Sh15.3 billion in the year ending August compared with Sh13.9 billion in the corresponding period in 2016.

About 85 per cent of the Kenyan coffee is sold through the auction with the balance sold direct to buyers overseas.

The government has been pushing for direct sales to enable growers earn more from the crop by eliminating the middlemen.