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January 22, 2019

Murang’a county to audit coff ee factories to end losses, theft

Argo-marketing CEC Edward Muiruri addressing an AIPCA church women congregation at Mugoiri girls secondary school on Wednesday
Argo-marketing CEC Edward Muiruri addressing an AIPCA church women congregation at Mugoiri girls secondary school on Wednesday

The Murang’a government is conducting an audit of all coffee factories to cushion farmers from misappropriation.

Agromarketing executive Edward Muiruri said the process is being done following an outcry by farmers over mismanagement of their factories. Muiruri said the audit will also probe allegations by farmers against board members and factories’ management.

There have been many factory thefts, with the most recent being at Kianderi in Kahuro subcounty where thieves made away with coffee worth Sh2.6 million.

The 26,000kg of coffee stolen were of the highest quality and farmers accused millers of being behind the theft which was the second in two years.

The incident happened only hours before a scheduled management committee meeting to decide on how coffee would be transported to farmers.

Muiruri said the audit report will be done in two weeks after which the county government will scrutinise the issues.

Where governance issues are found, board members will be discharged and surcharged, Muiruri said.

“Where we find minute issues, we will sit with farmers and explain to them so that we can agree on the way forward,” he said.

Muiruri said the county government wants to streamline the sector because the majority of families rely on its earnings.

“If marketing of coffee is what is causing all these conflicts, then we will find ways of solving the issue to ensure farmers get their deserved dues,” he said.

Muiruri said the audit done on Murang’a Coffee co-operatives Union in 2015 by Deloitte is set to be released.

He said the audit will determine what had caused a near collapse of the sector and give recommendations. The executive said the report will be fully implemented in a bid to stabilise the sector and ensure coffee cooperatives are properly run.

Last week, members of Kagiri Coffee Cooperative Society in Kigumo voted to disband their board accusing it of orchestrating four coffee thefts that have occurred in factories under it.

This is after coffee worth Sh1.3 million was stolen from Kanguya coffee factory two weeks ago, prompting farmers to ask for elections.

About 399 farmers voted against the board, while 232 voted for it. But Muiruri, who oversaw the elections, said the farmers needed 400 votes to disband the board according to cooperative society laws. He, however, disbanded the board saying fresh elections will be done after the audit report.

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