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DP Gachagua convenes a 3-day coffee meeting amid sharp drop in prices

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has convened a 3-day conference next month to discuss ways of revamping the sector amid a sharp decline in prices.

Payout to farmers this month has dropped by up to 50% from last year, something that has left them in schock and the sector facing a crisis.

The drop in prices has left the Kenya Kwanza government is a tight spot as it had promised to deal with cartels blamed for poor prices.

Gachagua said he had convened the conference for stakeholders in the coffee industry to deliberate on reforms to revamp the agricultural sub-sector.

The conference will be held in Meru from June 6 to 8, 2023 and the discussion will be on revival of the once highly lucrative crop.

“As we leave Meru, we will have a solution to the problems bedeviling the coffee sub-sector. Problem of low prices is everywhere,” said Gachagua.

He said President Ruto tasked him with finding a solution and primised to get a solution on how farmers can get prices that are commensurate with their labour and effort.

He spoke at Kahira-ini Catholic Church Parish in Ruguru Ward.

He was accompanied by various leaders including the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock Development Daniel Wamahiu Kiongo, Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga and Nyeri Woman Representative Rahab Mukami.

Also present were MPs Eric Wamumbi (Mathira), Maina Mathenge (Nyeri town), Njoroge Wainaina (Kieni), John Kaguchia (Mukurweini), Wambugu Wainaina (Othaya), Mpuri Aburi (Tigania East), Gachoki Gitari (Kirinyaga Central) and Member of the East African Legislative Assembly Kanini Kega.

Nyeri County Assembly Speaker Mwangi Gichuhi, members of the County Assembly and former Mathira MP Peter Weru were also present.

The forthcoming coffee convention will be preceded by a meeting between the Deputy President and his counterpart from Columbia on Monday.

“Tomorrow I will be meeting the vice president of Colombia to talk about coffee. In their country, they have succeeded and their prices are good,” said Mr Gachagua.

He said the Meru conference will be attended by governors, Senators and Members of Parliament from all the coffee-growing areas.

Cabinet secretaries for Agriculture and Cooperatives together with coffee sellers, marketers, roasters and experts will also be in attendance.

“We will come up with a resolution on the necessary reforms to be instituted that will lead to high prices,” said the Deputy President as he acknowledged that some coffee cooperative societies have closed down due to huge debts.

In January, President Ruto tasked Mr Gachagua to lead the coffee sector reforms spearheaded by the Coffee Sub-Sector Reforms Implementation Standing Committee.

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