CRACKDOWN

Mt Elgon farmers cautioned against coffee smuggling to Uganda

Farmers urged to take their produce to cooperatives to avoid exploitation

In Summary
  • “Our neighbours’ in Uganda are exploiting us by buying coffee at low prices and using fake weighing scales which is affecting us,'' he said.
  • Police along the Kenya-Uganda border have been instructed to crack down on farmers selling coffee outside cooperative societies.
A coffee farmer picks ripe berries.
COFFEE SECTOR: A coffee farmer picks ripe berries.
Image: REUTERS

Coffee farmers in Mt Elgon have been urged to take their crop to cooperative societies instead of selling cheaply to Ugandans.

A coffee farmer, Eric Kiso, said police along the Kenya-Uganda border have been instructed to crack down on farmers selling coffee outside cooperative societies.

Kiso spoke to the press on Monday after attending a farmers' forum organised by Kimama Cooperative Society in Mt Elgon.

He said the aim is to make sure that coffee is sold legally in the country through marketing cooperatives and associations for a better market.

“Our neighbours’ in Uganda are exploiting us by buying coffee at low prices and using fake weighing scales which is affecting us,'' he said.

Kiso decried the increase in coffee smuggling adding that it's high time it is stopped.

Farmers should implement a budget on coffee marketing according to Section 24A of the Constitution governing coffee farming.

On his part, Kimama Cooperative Society chair, Benard Nyongesa echoed the national government's support and urged the county government to support coffee farmers too by availing necessary resources.

“The national government has supported coffee farmers in the region by bringing solar lights, CCTV, digital weighing scales and security alarms enhancing swift coffee selling,” Nyongesa said.

He said the region has great potential for the product and support from the government should make it better.

The organising secretary, Kimama Cooperative Association, Ben Milupi advised farmers to always plan for their produce.

He said the 527 bags of coffee that had been presented recently to the cooperative was a sign of great produce by the farmers.

“We are good farmers and our recent production shows our great efforts," Milupi said.

He added that coffee prices this year are on the verge of increase which will be a great achievement to the farmers.

Farmers were advised to invest their returns in educating their children. 

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)