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Kenyan coffee earns Ksh 22 billion despite a staggering 70% drop in production

Kenya earned Sh 22billion from  export of 46.333 metric tonnes compared to Sh 5.7 billion earned in the 2003/04 coffee year representing a 285% rise in earnings.

Despite the good showing Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said while the money earned increased tremendously, production fell by 70% while the area under coffee reduced by 30%.

Munya said despite the reduction in coffee production in the country, Kenya’s Arabica Coffee Variety has continued to attract buyers from the best export markets of the world and fetch premium prices.

“In 2019/20 coffee year, the Country exported 46,333 metric tons of Green Bean Equivalent that earned US$209.82Million equivalent to Ksh.22billion. This was a 285% increase in coffee export earnings from Ksh.5.7billion realized in 2003/04 coffee year,” he said.

Munya noted that, while Kenyan coffees continue to fetch top dollars in the market, the payments to coffee farmers per kilogram of cherry have continued to decline.

He said coffee is currently grown on approximately 120,000 hectares spread across 33 counties supporting over 800,000 households and over 5Million citizens directly and indirectly.

Over 70% of coffee has historically been grown around the Mt Kenya Counties of Kiambu, Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Embu, Tharaka Nithi and Meru while significant promise exists in the new coffee growing frontiers in Rift Valley, Western Kenya and Nyanza.

Coffee farming reached an an all-time high of 170,000 hectares in early 1990s while coffee production rose to 129,637 metric tons in 1988/99 coffee year.

The good performance of the coffee sector during these golden years was attributable to a confluence of factors that included supportive policies pursued by the Government, well-structured, farmer-centric, efficiently managed and frugal network of coffee producer and marketing cooperative societies.

There was also a robust technical support that included an extensive network of coffee research institutions and extension services that were well funded. In addition, coffee farmers were paid handsomely and on time.

Munya said the aim of the report was to aid in  entrenching the on-going reforms in the coffee sector in the country that are aimed at improving efficiency in the performance of the sector and earnings to coffee farmers.

He said the Coffee Report 2021 therefore undertakes an honest account of the historical state of being of the coffee sector in Kenya and identifies attributable factors and circumstances for the underwhelming performance of the sector as a basis for progressive reforms.

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