Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives Simon Chelugui has assured farmers of protection from exploitative brokers and middlemen.
Speaking at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange Auction where brokers were kicked out of the trading floor and replaced by farmers through their unions.
At least 12 unions owned by farmers have been licensed to sell coffee at the NCE for the first time in 60 years.
He described the event as a great milestone for the coffee growers as the journey to free them from the yoke of cartels reached the penultimate stage.
Chelugui said allowing farmers to sell their own coffee was a historic event that proves a turning point for the sub-sector and and a new lease of life.
“The historic bell ringing marked the reopening of Nairobi Coffee Exchange and auction, and henceforth, farmers will never again go through middlemen,” he said.
He said farmers will be able to enjoy the fruits of their sweat again and that the event is part of broad reforms that the government is initiating to boost the livelihoods of the people.
Chelugui decried the fall in coffee production noting that Kenya was a leading producer of coffee in the 1970-80s but due to structural programmes and liberalization of the market, the farmers lost.
“We dropped in coffee production from 129, 000 metric tonnes to 25, 000 metric tonnes; we were the leading producer producer in Africa but we’re now number 7 and 25 in the world,” he noted.
He said the journey to restore the glory and position at the world stage has begun.
He said the government will remain firm to ensure that the reform agenda initiated were not lost along the way.
“I want to ask our farmers; sasa ni wakati wa kurudi mashambani, sasa ni wakati wenyu wakulima; serikali imefanya yake sasa jukumu ni lenyu,” he said.