Farmers will reap big with direct access to the global market

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Kisii, Kenya July 10 – Hundreds of small-scale coffee farmers in Kisii County will now sell their coffee directly to the world market.

This move will result in farmers who fall under the Gusii Cooperative Coffee Growers Union (GCFU) bypassing the current stringent intermediaries in the coffee value chain, resulting in double the income from their harvest.

It comes even as a delegation from a South Korean coffee-buying company, Kang Sunggyu, traveled to the county to negotiate the cost of the precious harvest which authorities say will cause a disconnect between the international and local coffee auctions at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange.

Kisii Agriculture Director Esman Onsarigo said the South Korean coffee buyer had been identified by the county government as one of the businesses likely to receive direct sales.

He assured the buyer of quality coffee thanks to the collaboration between the county government and the local farmers’ union.

Coffee investor Kang Sunggyu of Good Beans said he was impressed with coffee farmers in the county and assured them of good earnings, saying Korea was one of the major consumers of coffee.

But Union chief executive Robert Mainya has expressed concern that the buyer’s demands will not be met due to low quantities produced and high demand expected.

Mainya, however, is committed to ensuring that farmers are empowered to produce improved, quality crops for direct sale abroad.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on the Coffee Subsector, Professor Joseph Keyah, revealed that the buyer (Good Beans) had the capacity to buy 172 metric tons of coffee with instant payments on delivery by the farmers.

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Farmers, who were previously excluded from participation in price trading auctions, will now produce, grind, trade and export coffee to the international market, but in compliance with existing Coffee Exchange regulations.

The coffee industry has been a mainstay of the country’s economic development for decades, bringing in an annual average of $230 million in foreign exchange earnings as Kenya’s third most important export, after horticulture and tea.

However, this is a dismal performance according to senior Ministry of Agriculture officials, and has required urgent interventions to reverse the negative trend and ensure the sustainability of the sector.

Speaking to farmers at a coffee revival program awareness forum in Kisii town, Agricultural CAS for Livestock and Fisheries Development, Lawrence Omuhaka, had recently said that the ministry had decided to reorganize the industry, with the aim of increasing the average national coffee production from 2 kg to 5 kg. per tree per year over the next three years, and increase gross producer revenues by 50% per year.

Omuhaka, who represented CS, then Peter Munya, noted that the revitalization program aimed to support the expansion of production, adoption of improved coffee varieties, increased use of affordable/subsidized agricultural inputs and training. farmers to best farming practices.

This is linked to increased production in Kisii which is currently between 2.5 kg per tree and 4 kg with better farming methods and farmer motivation.

The government targeted small coffee growers belonging to a cooperative society, small coffee growers or any other producer belonging to an association holding less than 20 acres of coffee with the deliberate aim of freeing coffee farmers from private millers and brokers who are suspected of blocking government efforts to improve the coffee sector.

There are 22 coffee companies and 72 factories in the Gusii region which must apply the best agricultural practices to improve the quality of the products.

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