Coffee marketers and buyers from different parts of the world are expected to continue trickling into the country, where preparations for the 123rd International Coffee Organisation meeting is underway.
Among those who have arrived include a team from Nebraska State, US who visited Kilimo House on Thursday. They also met deputy president, William Ruto and are due to have another meeting with the Council of Governors. The event is slated for March 25 to 29 next year.
“We have so many activities happening here now since the ICO executive director visited Kenya. We expect more marketers and buyers to continue coming to make deals with farmers,” Coffee Sector Implementation Reforms (CSIR) chairman Joseph Kieyah told the Sunday Nation.
He said after the country was granted the opportunity to host members of the International Coffee Council (ICC) by the ICO, it shed some light on importance of Kenya’s coffee.
“Kenya is now the focus and everyone in the world who matters in coffee wants to come here,” Prof Kieyah who had hosted the ICO executive director, Jose Sette said in a telephone interview.
ICC is the highest authority of the ICO and meets in March and September every year to discuss coffee matters. In September the council converged in Mexico. And Prof Kieyah who led the Kenyan team lobbied to have the council members congregate in Kenya for the first time.
Kenya will now be the third country to host the event after Ethiopia and Cote d’Ivoire.
During his visit, the ICO executive director, Jose Sette described Kenya’s coffee as highly sought after in the world market, though he decried low production experienced over the years.
Increasing the coffee output appeared to be his main concern. To achieve this, Mr Sette urged stakeholders in the industry to work together with the view of increasing production for the benefit of the smallholder farmer who produces most of the coffee.
The ICO boss visited Nyeri and Kirinyaga counties and held talks with the two governors, Mutahi Kahiga and Anne Waiguru respectively. He also held talks with the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Mwangi Kiunjuri and the Council of Governors, among other senior Government officials.
The team of marketers from Nebraska State have also visited Kirinyaga and expressed the will to buy coffee from the county.
Governor Waiguru has announced plans to package coffee from the county and seek direct market overseas. And she recently visited Italy with officials of coffee co-operatives in Kirinyaga to look for markets for their beans.
During the interview with this writer, Prof Kieyah said: “What we are encouraging overseas buyers to do is to buy coffee directly from farmers instead of selling it through the Nairobi Coffee Auction.”