A fresh crisis has hit the coffee sector after a group of angry farmers from Murang’a County uprooted the cash crop after prices dropped by half this year compared to last year.
The farmers said last year they earned an average of Sh 100/- per kilo of coffee but the prices have dropped heavily by than half in some factories making the growing of the crop unviable and a burden to them.
The shocking development has come at a time when the government has been looking for ways of reviving the sector, including holding a major coffee stakeholders’ meeting in Meru recently where several recommendations were made.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has led government efforts in reviving the sector that has been hit by a wave of low prices compared to last year.
Three weeks ago, Gachagua presided over the re-opening of the Nairobi Coffee Exchange where brokers were kicked out as farmers’ through their unions were licensed to sell coffee for themselves for the first time in 60 years.
The move was touted as a way of ensuring that farmers get better value to their coffee following claims that previous brokers were colluding to depress the prices and, in the process, fleecing the already impoverished farmers.
The DP is scheduled to travel to Colombia, in South America, later in the year as he seeks solutions to revive the struggling sector.