MISMANAGEMENT

Inoi Coffee Society farmers express gratitude after board disbandment

They accuse the former board members of misusing their positions and caring less about their plight

In Summary

• The once vibrant society of over 8,000 members was a mega coffee producer in the county, hitting up to 15 million kilograms of coffee.

• However, as from 2010, things took a different turn with the production and the number of farmers dwindling drastically .

Agriculture CS Peter Munya speaks to coffee farmers at the Kerugoya stadium when he visited the county last month
Agriculture CS Peter Munya speaks to coffee farmers at the Kerugoya stadium when he visited the county last month
Image: WANGECHI WANG'ONDU

It is a sigh of relief for members of the Inoi Coffee Farmers Society in Kerugoya, Kirinyaga county after the disbandment of the management board, which they say has been hindering its progress.

The farmers accuse the former board members of misusing their positions and caring less about their plight, forcing them to sell their produce to other societies.

Daniel Kibanya, a committee member at the  Kianderi Coffee Factory which falls under the society, said the entity has over the years  been chocked by debts owed to various government agencies, suppliers and society workers .

He also said misuse of funds and bad leadership has contributed to pushing the society to a sloppy edge.

“The former officials sold land and property to get funds to run administrative matters like paying staff, retirees, suppliers and sorting out other issues. However, that was not accomplished as the funds were not channeled to that purpose. As a result, the factory has been entangled by huge debts amounting to close to Sh40 million," Kibanya said on the phone.

The once vibrant society of over 8,000 members was a mega coffee producer in the county, hitting up to 15 million kilograms of coffee. However, as from 2010, things took a different turn with the production and the number of farmers dwindling drastically .

“The society has been performing really badly, Currently, there are less than 1,000 members supplying the society with about 100 to 200 kilograms of coffee. Members have preferred enrolling in other societies as they no longer benefit from Inoi,” Kibanya said.

During its glorious times, Kibanya said the society reaped big from sale of members' produce that shot  as high as Sh85 per kilogram compared to the current Sh72.

He hailed Agriculture CS Peter Munya's  intervention to help end the bad leadership in the organization .

He is optimistic that the upcoming Tuesday’s elections will usher in a new dawn.

During his trip in the county, Munya sounded a stern warning to coffee society managers mismanaging farmers funds and selling farmers’ assets to pay debts.

Another farmer from the society hailed the move noting that with the upcoming elections, he is optimistic that their fortune will change and their hard work will now not be going down the drain.

“We are now ready to get back to our farms and play our part .We are positive that the incoming team will be competent and will turn this society around,” he said.