MPs differ on draft laws, put coffee sector reforms at risk
A row between the Senate and National Assembly over management of the coffee sub-sector seems to be far from over as the former rejects amendments suggested by the latter to change Coffee Bill 2020.
Senate on Wednesday rejected amendments that National Assembly had proposed in Coffee Bill 2020, a situation feared is likely to disrupt President Uhuru Kenyatta’s efforts to revive the crop as part of his legacy.
The stalemate between the two houses of Parliament adds to already ongoing supremacy wars in the industry between the Ministry of Agriculture, Capital Markets Authority and Council of Governors over new regulations.
Senate Agriculture Committee yesterday said that Coffee Bill 2020 went through all the legislative stages and was validated by a majority of stakeholders required and thus no need to amend its content.
“As the committee we discarded the proposed changes as they seem to water down our bill. They seem to favour the status quo in the coffee industry, especially marketing of the crop,” said Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Njeru Ndwiga.
He added: “Our Bill intended to safeguard the plight of the small- scale coffee farmer and protect them from the yokes of poverty. But the amendments proposed by the National Assembly seem to favour secondary players –largely millers and marketing agents.”
The Bill that passed all the legislative processes in both houses shared similarities with the Coffee Bill 2021 which had been drafted by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.
The Bill 2021 survived only to the first reading. Supremacy wars by the two parties, value chains say will delay enactment of a comprehensive legislation as the climax of the reform agenda started by President Uhuru in 2016.