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February 17, 2019

Kiambu farmers find hope in Nebraska coffee deal

Githunguri MP Kago wa Lydia with Nebraska senator Dan Quick at a coffee farm in Githunguri on Tuesday /STANLEY NJENGA
Githunguri MP Kago wa Lydia with Nebraska senator Dan Quick at a coffee farm in Githunguri on Tuesday /STANLEY NJENGA
The state of Nebraska in the US has shown interest in exporting coffee from Kiambu.
Residents welcomed the move that will remove brokers and improve farmers’ profit.
A delegation from Nebraska led by US senator Dan Quick and investors toured Githunguri subcounty in Kiambu on Tuesday. Also with them was MP Kago wa Lydia, Tigania West lawmaker Kanyuithia Mutunga, Kiambu deputy governor James Nyoro, Woman Representative Gathoni Wamuchomba and coffee technical expert Michael Mungai.
 The group was invited by Deputy President William Ruto to improve coffee sales. Quick said, “It is all about hearing experiences from the farmers and how we can help.”
Kago, who is also a member of of the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock, said farmers should be supported to work directly with the coffee buyers and weed out cartels.
“Coffee farmers are the poorest yet they do everything,” he said.
Kago added that farmers get a raw deal when the African Coffee Roasters buys their coffee at Sh800 per kilo, but they receive only Sh120 due to cartels and middlemen.
He said they will push for legislation to remove cartels and shorten the market chain, with farmers selling their produce directly to companies. Mutunga, a member of the National Assembly Agriculture committee said any farmer should  sell their produce to anyone.
He added that too much politics has hurt the industry further.
“Coffee farmers should be allowed to transact business freely. If politicians are not bringing in more money to farmers, they should not be involved at all.”
Wamuchomba said leaders should be at the forefront to ensure coffee farmers are paid what they deserve.
“The Kiambu government should tell coffee farmers if it is ready to help since mills have stalled due to debts. Farmers opt for private millers where they get low returns,” she said. Nyoro said coffee farmers should unite and end internal wrangles among themselves if they want to develop their trade.
“They should seize opportunities from foreign investors who want to buy their coffee directly.”
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