Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has officially opened a two day coffee summit that seeks to address challenges faced by the coffee farmers in the country.
Key among the thorny issues is the recent sharp drop in coffee prices that have added more misery to the long suffering farmers.
The event in Meru brings together governors from coffee growing counties, government officials, lawmakers and other stakeholders in the chain among others.
The coffee sector has been faced with challenges that have almost crippled the sector.
Gachagua said that the Kenya Kwanza manifesto has put weight on Agriculture as the backbone of the economy and has expressed willingness to do everything possible to bolster the sector.
“For the next two days we will establish structures for long-term reforms in the coffee subsector,” said Gachagua.
“In the Executive Order Number 1 of 2023, President William Ruto tasked me with overseeing public reforms. Reforming the Coffee, Tea, and Dairy subsectors have formed part of my work as I engage stakeholders like yourselves, towards a turn-around to profitability.”
He said the Summit was the climax of wide consultations with farmers, various State and non-State agencies in the country and outside on sustainable reforms.
Gachagua said for for far too long, those who sweat most in producing the cash crop have benefited the least hence the need for new interventions.
Some of the challenges bedevilling the sector have been attributed to legal and policy gaps.
The DP brought on board members of parliament from the sector to brainstorm on possible policies that could be pushed in the parliament that will aid strengthen the coffee sector.
“From the engagements, we have identified legal, policy and operational gaps in the production and marketing chain. This is a key component of the output of this meeting,” he noted.
The Kenya Kwanza administration is laying down strategies that will add value addition and identify high value markets for the commodity globally.
He sair with the high cost of Kenyan coffee in the international market, the Kenyan farmer should thrive economically as was the case some years back.
“Our farmers must get maximum returns from coffee. This will also boost our foreign exchange,” he said.
“We must rewrite the history of the Kenyan coffee, which dates back to 1894. This brand, was and still is known across the world by its superior and distinct aroma and flavour.”
The Summit hopes to come up with far-reaching reforms that will, among other issues, ensure coffee becomes the leading foreign exchange earner for the country.