The World Bank is set to fund a US$ 14m concessional loan for a coffee revitalization plan in Kenya. The Ministry of Agriculture said government’s focus is on improving the production and quality of the coffee in the country which has been on a steady decline. As such, and as reported by Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives Peter Munya, the plan will focus on eight counties that account for 70% of coffee production in the country, then later up-scaled to the rest of the country by September.
According to the Cabinet Secretary, the program will involve the revival of coffee farming, training and supporting farmers with quality seeds, extension services, refurbishing of coffee factories and mills, improving storage and sourcing of markets.
Phases of the project
Phase one of the project will target Machakos, Kiambu, Muranga, Kirinyaga, Nyeri , Embu , Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties.
Kenya’s coffee production currently stands at 40,000 metric tonnes annually from an all-time high of 140,000 metric tonnes with the government hoping to raise production to 100,000 metric tonnes annually.
The Ministry of Agriculture officers have been tasked with identifying bottlenecks in coffee production in each county and offer a tailor-made solution to the farmers.
Traders urged to embrace technology
At the same time, the Cabinet Secretary directed that all traders in the Coffee exchange and Tea auctions to embrace technology and automate within two months or lose their licenses. Middlemen and brokers have been proven to be a hindrance to the sourcing of better prices and international markets for the products due to the lack of transparency and accountability in the trade.
Earlier on this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a number of measures geared towards governance of the tea, milk and coffee sectors in the country after perennial losses to farmers and infiltration of the trades by unscrupulous dealers.