‘Coffee produced in Kenya not benefiting farmers’ – DP Gachagua
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has alleged that despite Kenyan farmers producing quality coffee, they do not get the benefits they deserve from the international market.
In a statement on Friday, September 15, 2023, Gachagua said that Kenyan coffee is used by roasters across the globe to improve the quality of coffee from other parts of the world.
"Indeed, Kenyan coffee is renowned across the globe for its distinct flavour owed to our varieties. This was evident even from the exhibition at the PRF, which included a coffee cupping moment. The high quality of our coffee has been used by roasters across the globe to upgrade other coffees to make them more attractive in taste and aroma," Gachagua stated.
"In spite of this sterling performance internationally, it has been tragic that the speciality in coffee produced in Kenya is not benefiting the farmer."
Gachagua says that the ongoing reforms in the sector will place the Kenyan farmer at the negotiating table to do away with exploitation.
"With the ongoing reforms in the Subsector, we are now placing the farmer at the table of negotiating the price of their coffee with consumers. As part of our commitment to value addition and dealing in speciality coffee, connecting the farmer to the consumer for the value of their money while the farmer receives commensurate pay. We will stop at nothing until the farmer is the boss," he added.
Gachagua issued the statement moments after attending the seventh Coffee Producer and Roaster Forum in Medellín, Colombia, where he interacted and made a presentation to key actors in the marketing and consumption of the produce.
Coffee production in Kenya
Currently, Kenya produces higher-priced mild arabica coffees and accounts for less than one per cent of global exports.
According to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture dated May 2023, Kenya’s marketing year (MY) 2023/24 production is forecast to increase 6.7 per cent to 800,000 bags due to a recovery from drought conditions and higher fertilizer application.
The report notes that the area harvested is expected to remain flat at 105,000 hectares, as new plantings are curtailed due to a shortage of planting materials and as losses associated with the conversion of plantations to real estate slow.
MY 2023/24 coffee exports are anticipated to grow 5.5 per cent to 760,000 bags as higher production increases exportable supplies.