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Murang'a coffee co-operatives to benchmark in Nyeri, Kirinyaga

The six coffee co-operative societies will benchmark with successful co-operatives.

In Summary

•The six coffee co-operative societies will benchmark with successful co-operatives on ways of boosting their production and good management.

•They will also learn alternative income generation options that will help farmers boost their earnings.

Coffee berries being dried at Njora coffee factory in Kigumo.
Coffee berries being dried at Njora coffee factory in Kigumo.
Image: Alice Waithera

Coffee Cooperatives from Murang’a County will benefit from a benchmarking program with successful cooperatives in Nyeri and Kirinyaga Counties.

The program will see the 44 coffee cooperatives in the county benefit from mentor cooperatives and is funded by Irungu Nyakera Foundation in collaboration with Coffee Campus, an organization that organizes learning programs for the coffee sector.

The bench-marking program dubbed ‘Kahawa Boost’ is aimed at helping local coffee farmers to increase the quality and quantity of coffee production.

This comes as coffee prices continue to rise with the reforms being implemented by the government in the sector.

Farmers have been receiving payments of up to Sh110 per kilogram of coffee up from as low as Sh15 per kilogram that they received in previous years.

Last month, Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya announced that coffee prices had registered a remarkable improvement and that the Nairobi Coffee Exchange had registered USD 374.40 for a 60-kilogram bag of coffee as at March 31.

According to former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Irungu Nyakera who is also the chairperson of Kenya Coffee and Tea Sector Lobby, the sector has the capacity to contribute over Sh10 billion to the county.

“This benchmarking program will equip farmers with husbandry skills that will increase their production per tree to at least 10 Kilograms while growing their cooperatives’ total cherry volumes to at least 1 million kilograms,” he said.

The program will benefit Wahundura, SabaSaba, Kinogerama, Kabati,  Njora and Kanyenyaini coffee cooperatives.

The cooperatives will also learn alternative income generation options, better factory management and agronomy practices, and network with successful factories.

Farmers have been decrying poor management of their factories that further reduces their earnings and have accused factory managers of colluding with private millers to facilitate coffee theft.

The Irungu Nyakera Foundation has been supporting coffee cooperatives in Muranga County with metallic drying beds and coffee seedlings.

The program targeting 144 coffee factories was launched in November 2021 and has already benefitted 48 factories across the county.

Nyakera urged the government to fast-track reforms in the sector that will help streamline the governance of co-operatives and assure farmers of guaranteed minimum returns.

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