• Karugu said if farmers can sell 50 per cent of their coffee locally, then they will beat problems in the value chain and get more money in their pockets.
• She said Kenya should emulate Ethiopia, which consumes 50 per cent of her coffee
Cultivating local consumption of coffee can stabilise prices and create a market for half the volume produced, Nyeri Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu has said.
Karugu said if farmers can sell 50 per cent of their coffee locally, then they will beat problems in the value chain and get more money in their pockets.
She said Kenya should emulate Ethiopia, which consumes 50 per cent of her coffee.
The deputy governor called for a change in the mentality that coffee is a high-end product only meant to be exported to Europe and elsewhere in the West.
She said the major complaints by farmers are about poor coffee prices in the market and the opaqueness of the value chain.
“All these complaints in the coffee sector can be cut by half if only we drank our own coffee,” she said.
Karugu also said technology should be used in the coffee processing and marketing for transparency in the sector.
Online and mobile-based platforms can cut off middlemen who eat from the sweat of farmers, she said.
Buyers can bypass brokers by visiting online platforms, checking the prices of coffee products and buying from the farmers themselves.
“Farmers will be able to harvest their coffee, build warehouses, use warehouses receipting system and build a platform that they can use to track their coffee from harvesting stage to storage, end-market, to the price from the palm of their hands,” she said.
Farmers should also be free to decide where to sell their coffee, whether in beans form, milled or roasted.
“When we do these, we will be creating an alternative solution so that farmers do not fight with brokers and cartels. This will give value to the farmer,” she said.
She made the remarks at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology after overseeing the launch of a coffee-flavoured yoghurt brand.
The university partnered with Mukurwe-ini Wakulima dairy for the product.
The yoghurt brand was officially launched on Friday last week by Agriculture CS Peter Munya.
Karugu praised the two partners for flavouring yoghurt with coffee, saying this was one way of improving local consumption.
(edited by o. owino)