• Farmers say the management of the factory is responsible for their meagre earnings.
• They stormed the factory on Thursday and stopped their leaders from loading their coffee onto trucks for transportation saying they needed to first agree on the prices.
Coffee farmers supplying Irera coffee factory in Murang’ a county want its management audited to establish the cause of their low payments.
The farmers have accused the management of the factory of misappropriating their money.
Irate farmers on Thursday stormed the factory and stopped the management from loading their coffee onto waiting trucks.
They said that the management ought to have called them for a meeting to discuss where the coffee would be sold and at how much per kilogramme.
The farmers were shocked to find out that the coffee was being loaded onto vehicles for transportation to an unknown location.
Netah Njeri, a farmer, said it was very suspicious that the management decided not to involve them in the process as is the norm.
She said farmers were particularly angry with the fact that the factory paid them Sh24 per kilogramme for the coffee they sold in the year 2018-19.
The money was too little to cover their costs of production leave alone support their families, she said.
When they complained, management told them that coffee theft was one of the causes of the minimal payments.
“We are suspecting that they have some secret dealings so we have asked them to return it to the stores until we come to an agreement,” Njeri added.
Elijah Mungai said farmers will not allow the coffee to be transported without knowing where it will be taken and how much they will get for it.
He also noted that they want to resolve queries that came up over last years’ payments before the current batch is sold off.
Mungai noted that farmers previously erred by assuming that the miller who bought their coffee was responsible for their low payments until they found out that other factories that sell to the same company receive over Sh60 per kilo.
He said farmers are very concerned that the management decided to hike the percentage used to pay factory workers from 20 percent of the farmers’ money to 34 percent without any explanation.
“Our problem is our management. This is why we want the government to come in and hold them to account,” Mungai said.
(edited by O. Owino)