Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua witnessed a historic occasion where farmers were allowed to sell their own coffee at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange Auction from today effectively locking out brokers in the lucrative trade. He said government will set aside a fund to cushion farmers should buyers fail to buy coffee.
It was a new dawn for coffee farmers after they were allowed to sell their produce at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange Auction for the first time in 60 years – bypassing the notorious brokers.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua termed the development as a major milestone in the ongoing coffee reforms at it will ensure that growers get the best value for coffee after the marketing agents (brokers) were kicked out in new changes.
“Henceforth, the farmer has a voice in determining the price of their coffee. This is revolutionary to the sub-sector; it is the first time the farmer will know the worth of their coffee,” said the DP.
He said they have also institutionalised payment through the Direct Settlement System for the farmer to receive payment on time.
He at the same time said that the Government will deploy armed police officers to all coffee factories to guard against the rising cases of theft of the produce.
Speaking when he reopened the Nairobi Coffee Exchange Auction on Tuesday at New KPCU Nairobi, Mr Gachagua said theft has caused losses to farmers and must be stopped.
Alongside ongoing reforms, he said, this is part of the measures the Government is taking to ensure coffee farmers get earnings commensurate to their sweat.
He announced that the New KPCU would undergo major reforms including being a buyer of last resort to ensure coffee farmers are cushioned from unstable prices.
Operations at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange were suspended soon after the Coffe Reforms Stakeholders Conference in June this year in Meru, which among other recommendations, rooted for elimination of brokers for the farmer to sell their produce directly for better returns.
The DP said the government is on course and will deliver reforms in the coffee sub sector by rooting out middlemen and cartels that have for a long time made coffee farming unprofitable.
During the Conference, which was chaired by the Deputy President, that saw direct engagement with farmers from all coffee growing counties, farmers aired their grievances as well as suggestions on possible solutions to challenges bedeveling them.
The DP also said that the government is aligning relevant legal, policy and operational frameworks for sustainable reforms.
He added that ambassadors will be required to champion identification of markets globally for the Kenyan produce, as the country works towards restoring it’s glory in the global arena.