DECREASING ACREAGE ALSO CONTRIBUTES

Low local consumption to blame for less coffee production

Stakeholders say the local market should consume close to 50 per cent of what factories produce

In Summary

·Coffee management services general manager Martin Ngari said Kenyans consume an annual average of only 300 grams per individual unlike the case with mega coffee producers like Finland where local annual consumption stands at 13kg per individual.

Coffee farmers sort out cherry beans at a factory in Gichugu, Kirinyaga county
Coffee farmers sort out cherry beans at a factory in Gichugu, Kirinyaga county
Image: WANGECHI WANG'ONDU

Kenyans should drink more coffee to stimulate higher production, officials have said.

More local coffee consumption will ultimately lead to an increase the rate of production, stakeholders say.

The farmers will get motivated to increase their production resulting in a further increase of cherries taken to factories for processing.

Coffee management services general manager Martin Ngari said Kenyans consume an annual average of only 300 grams per individual unlike the case with mega coffee producers like Finland where local annual consumption stands at 13kg per individual.

Ngari also gave the example of neighbouring Ethiopia where half of the coffee produced there is consumed locally.

Ethiopia is one of the biggest producers of coffee in Africa with more than four million bags annually.

“Low coffee consumption has significantly led to the low production in the country. Much of the crop that is grown locally is for export purposes as there is still low local demand for coffee,” Ngari said.

He added, “If we could change the narrative by aggressively consuming our own produce, we would steadily build our local market base and reduce overreliance on external markets.”

The official said Kenya produces 700,000 bags of coffee annually against the world’s production rate of 174 million. That is less than one per cent of the total global production.

Ngari spoke on Wednesday in Gichugu where he was addressing coffee farmers.

Other than low consumption, decreased land for coffee cultivation, change in climatic condition and low budgetary allocation for research were the other factors cited as contributing to less production.

“Urbanisation has crept in and resulted in a decreased production as many of the coffee farms have recently been converted into settlement schemes and urban centers,” he said.

There is a global deficit of 13 million bags in coffee production. That has been attributed to the harsh climate in Brazil which is the biggest producer in the world.

“With the frost and drought in Brazil, coffee quantity is likely to reduce. Owing to this, farmers need to put more effort as there shall be increased demand,” Ngari said.

Margret Ngetha from Kenya Challenge Fund asked farmers to adopt smart agricultural practices while maintaining the use of environmentally friendly and sustainable inputs and processing equipment.

 

Coffee beans drying under the sun on net and wood made racks at the Kimatu coffee factory in Gichugu
Coffee beans drying under the sun on net and wood made racks at the Kimatu coffee factory in Gichugu
Image: WANGECHI WANG'ONDU
Coffee tree in one of the cofffee farms in Gichugu,Kirinyaga county
Coffee tree in one of the cofffee farms in Gichugu,Kirinyaga county
Image: WANGECHI WANG'ONDU