Coffee fund to shield farmers from brokers, says Waiguru

In Summary

• She pledged to support any initiative that empowers farmers.

• The governor said the coffee cherry advance fund regulations are in line with her vision of getting a constant price for her farmers. 

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru addresses coffee stakeholders in Kutus on Wednesday
EMPOWERING THE FARMER: Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru addresses coffee stakeholders in Kutus on Wednesday
Image: /Alice Waithera

The coffee Cherry Advance Fund regulations will shield farmers from exploitation by middlemen and boost their earnings, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has said.

She said middlemen have for a long time been buying coffee at unpredictable and exploitative prices.

Speaking during a public participation forum in Kutus on Wednesday, Waiguru said the reforms being implemented in the sector will serve to empower farmers while boosting the economy.

The county chief said she will support anything that saves farmers from coffee cartels that have siphoned their money and left them helpless.

“I have scrutinised the regulations, and I am certain that the fund will benefit farmers. Anything that moves the conversation forward and helps farmers has my full support," Waiguru said.

She praised President Uhuru Kenyatta for making efforts to restructure the sector.

The governor also wants coffee-growing counties’ caucus of relevant county executive members to be represented in the revolving fund board. The Sh3 billion coffee Cherry Advance Revolving Fund is one of Uhuru’s initiative geared towards reviving the coffee sector that has been ailing for decades.

She also wants the government to add at least Sh1 billion as a stabilisation fund to cushion farmers against fluctuating cherry prices caused by unstable international market rates.

Waiguru pledged to fully support the process, saying the recommendations in the regulations are in line with her vision of getting a fixed price for farmers.

She said she has already found an interested investor willing to buy Kirinyaga Coffee at an assured minimum price and the county is facilitating talks between the farmers and the investor.

Revolving fund task force chairman Geoffrey Malombe said Kirinyaga was pivotal in matters relating to coffee as it is the second-largest coffee producer in the country.

He said the objective of the cherry fund is to cushion coffee farmers against the volatility of cherry prices.

Malombe noted that waiting a long time to receive their payments has been a major source of anguish for farmers.

The chairman said the new KPCU had settled all debts owed by the former KPCU and that former shareholders will get a refund of their shares.

One of the recommendations of the regulations is that the government will give an advance payment of 40 per cent of sales of the past year’s commodity exchange rate or an advance of Sh20 per kilo.