Farmers in Kirinyaga have welcomed the move by the government to introduce reforms in the coffee sector
Gichugu member of parliament Githinji Gichimu, speaking to a group of coffee farmers at Riakithiga in his constituency said the reforms will go a long way in improving the sector.
He said the reforms are expected to capture thorny issues like coffee thefts at coffee societies in the area, adding that, “We must find a way of ensuring we insure the coffee and compensate the farmers in the event it is stolen from the society.”
The MP said the reforms already being advocated by the CS Agriculture Peter Munya must also seek to introduce a minimum guarantee return to the farmers to encourage them in the production of the commodity.
He noted that currently farmers are incurring heavy losses from the farm inputs including fertilizers and pesticides required in coffee production.
“The farmers are farming at a loss as they spend so much money to bring up the crop only to get Sh30 or Sh50 per kilo of the crop which should not be the case,” Gichimu said.
The legislator said though not a member of Agriculture in the National Assembly, he will volunteer to join the committee during their visit to the coffee-growing areas when that time comes.
“Just as we have done with the tea sector, we are now ready for the coffee farmers and I am assuring you, you will have something to smile about,” Gichimu told them.
He said the auction of coffee is another area that required much attention adding: “We want farmers to be involved from the delivery of their produce to the selling of the same. This issue of selling coffee without involving farmers must be totally dealt with as this is where farmers get swindled of their hard-earned money,” he emphasized.
Farmers present asked the county and national government to improve roads in the area to cut the cost of transporting coffee to societies. “We are incurring huge losses, since we have to hire transport for our produce to the factories. We would like the roads improved which will definitely reduce cost of transport,” said Margret Wangui, a farmer from Ngungu area.
Others complained of the rate they receive after delivering their produce which they say should be two or three times higher. “All the great people of Gichugu were educated from coffee proceeds in those times. We want to go back to those times where all a farmer needed was a slip of his/ her delivery, and would get money from any bank,” said Charles Mwaniki another coffee farmer from Kabare
Photos by Irungu Mwangi.