CHERRY FUND

Munya vows to dissolve coffee boards frustrating farmers

CS warns cooperative societies against compelling growers to go for high-interest loans.

In Summary

• Munya says the government set aside a Sh3 billion revolving fund to be given to farmers as low-interest loans, but the money is lying idle in the bank.

• He says some societies' management are reluctant to have farmers apply for the money so they can continue borrowing high-interest loans from millers, marketers who give them kickbacks.

Othaya Farmers Cooperative Society chairman James Gathua with Agriculture CS Peter Munya when he visited the Othaya Coffee Factory in Othaya on Saturday
Othaya Farmers Cooperative Society chairman James Gathua with Agriculture CS Peter Munya when he visited the Othaya Coffee Factory in Othaya on Saturday
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI
Nyeri county commissioner Loyford Kibaara, Othaya Farmers Cooperative Society chairman James Gathua and Agriculture CS Peter Munya at the Othaya Coffee Factory in Othaya on Saturday
Nyeri county commissioner Loyford Kibaara, Othaya Farmers Cooperative Society chairman James Gathua and Agriculture CS Peter Munya at the Othaya Coffee Factory in Othaya on Saturday
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

Agriculture CS Peter Munya has vowed to dissolve management of coffee cooperatives frustrating farmers’ efforts to access the Cherry Revolving Fund.

The CS said though the government set aside a Sh3 billion revolving fund to be given to farmers as low-interest loans, the money is lying idle in the bank as only a few applications have been made.

He said the management of some societies are reluctant to have farmers apply for the money so they can continue borrowing high-interest loans from millers, marketers and financial institutions that give them kickbacks.

“Many of you think it is a joke. But I assure you we cannot continue that way. For those who will not sign the forms so that farmers can get the money, we will have the society management dissolved then farmers will elect other people who will help them access the money,” Munya said.

He ordered that application forms be dispatched to national government administrative officials, including chiefs and their assistants, so that farmers can pick them easily.

Munya questioned why farmers should be going for high-interest loans when there is the Coffee Cherry Fund and the commodity fund that lend money at the rate of three and five per cent respectively.

Munya separately addressed farmers in Karatina Stadium, Mathira East, and Kaiyaba Stadium, Mahira West, Nyeri, on Monday.

The CS was on a tour of Nyeri county from Friday to Monday. He attended public-participation forums on the Coffee Bill, 2020.

He called on farmers to stand firmly with the bill the way tea farmers supported the Tea Bill. He said cartels can do all they can, including going to court to ensure the law does not see  the light of day.

The CS also promised that the government will commit some money to revive factories that collapsed in Mathira.

"We shall commit some money to revive at least two factories that have a good network of farmers,” he said.

Mathira North Cooperative Society collapsed, prompting farmers from the five factories affiliated to it to turn to coffee hawking. They are Kahira-ini, Kiamariga, Hiriga, Ruui Ruiru and Kabiru-ini factories, which split from the giant society.

They, however, halted operations as they could not cater for their own operation expenses independently.