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Reviving Kiambu coffee sector

By People Reporter
Tuesday, June 30th, 2020
Kiambu Governor James Nyoro (fourth left) accompanied by Agriculture executive Joseph Kamau (far right) and a section of Gatundu South MCAs handed over fertiliser to Gatundu south farmers. Photo/PD/NJONJO KIHURIA

Njojo Kihuria 

The Kiambu county government has since last month, spent  Sh40 million in procuring and distributing blended fertiliser to coffee farmers in the county as part of its intervention plan to increase coffee production.

The county has already distributed over 500 of the 750 tonnes it intends to distribute to 22 coffee cooperative societies that form the Kiambu County Coffee Farmers Association.

The cooperatives are in turn distributing the fertiliser to its active members. 

When he took over as governor of Kiambu early this year, James Nyoro facilitated coming together of the coffee cooperative societies, to enable farmers enjoy economies of scale in the bulk procurement of inputs, processing and marketing.

“Through this arrangement, the farmers will also be able to share services such as agronomy.

We could, for example, have five or 10  agronomists going round the county instead of each cooperative engaging their own.

They could also share accounting services and combine IT systems, which will reduce farmers’ expenses. 

Furthermore it’s not necessary for every society to have its own processing plant. They could share,” the governor explained.

This first phase of the intervention in inputs will be followed by the Coffee Revival Action Programme, a joint project between the county government and the World Bank. 

“Within a span of two years, the county will contribute Sh70 million and the World Bank will provide Sh140 million from the next financial year,” Kiambu agriculture CEC Joseph Kamau told  Agribiz

The condition for the granting of the World Bank funds is that 75 per cent of the funds are used for coffee production, while the rest goes towards rehabilitating processing facilities and enhancing sales and marketing.

The county government contribution of Sh70 million will, according to the CEC, be used for the procurement and distribution of fertiliser.

Kamau said the interaction between the county and the cooperative societies indicated that fertiliser was a priority in improving coffee production that would in turn increase yield per bush/per care. This would in turn improve quality that would lead to better prices.

The chairman of the Kiambu Coffee Growers Association Francis Maara said the fertiliser donation would go a long way towards improving coffee production, but called on farmers to chip in by contributing a third of what they had received from then county.

“This way, the farmers will be showing their commitment and determination to self-rely,” he said. 

Fertiliser, he noted was the most expensive input for coffee farming followed by pesticides and that farmers in Kiambu were now ready to tend to their plants and double production.