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January 19, 2019

Kenya seeks to sell more coffee in the USA

Dwindling fortunes: A woman picks coffee berries at the Paradise Lost coffee farm in Kiambu.
Dwindling fortunes: A woman picks coffee berries at the Paradise Lost coffee farm in Kiambu.

Kenya is seeking to increase its coffee market share in the United States through stronger ties between US investors and local stakeholders, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett has said. 

“The volume and value of coffee exported to the USA has been increasing gradually in the last six years. This growth of Kenya’s coffee export to the US has been attributed to persistent promotional campaigns done in the US during the Specialty Coffee Association of America,” Bett said yesterday.

Kenya’s coffee exports to the US increased from slightly above four million kilos in 2010-11 to more than seven million kilos in 2014-15 financial year.

Between 2010 and 2011, Kenya experienced a depression in coffee exports.

Following the increase, earnings grew from $30 million (Sh3.06 billion) in 2010-11 to $39 million (Sh3.97 billion) in 2014-15.

The United States is the third largest Kenyan coffee importer with coffee priced the highest at $240.10 (Sh24,463) for 50 kilos in 2015-16 financial year.

This was, however, a drop from $264.76 (Sh26,976) for 50 kilos in the 2014-15.

Kenya has been a member of the specialty Coffee Association of America since 2002, and won the 2017 SCAA Portrait Country status for the SCAA Symposium and Exposition.

This has facilitated talks to brew Kenyan coffee in hotels and coffee houses in Seattle during the event.

“For us as a country, to increase our global market share, we understand the need to have a closer and healthier relationship with the buyers both current and prospective,” Bett said.

He was speaking in Nairobi during a meeting with global coffee buyers.

Through the Kenyan government, the SCAA management will embark on a trip to engage American coffee buyers by allowing direct interaction with the Kenyan coffee industry value chain players.

On June 9, President Uhuru Kenyatta received the coffee taskforce report recommending that farmers be paid at least 40 per cent of the prevailing price.

The report also proposed that Sh200 million be set aside to market Kenyan coffee.

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