Gachagua to preside over Meru coffee consultations

Monday, June 5th, 2023 08:00 | By
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. PHOTO/Courtesy

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua will preside over a three-day conference on coffee reforms in Meru County from Thursday.

 The summit which runs from June 8 to 10, aims to bring together key stakeholders in the coffee subsector, including farmers, for deliberations on long-term reforms of reviving the once highly profitable crop to farmers.

 Gachagua has previously maintained that farmers have been neglected for long as brokers unfairly make money from the growers’ sweat.

 “Revitalisation of the coffee subsector in Kenya will directly touch the lives of smallholder farmers who for a long time have remained unheard. The philosophy of the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation model envisages restoring dignity to the people at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid,” he said.

 So far, the DP has had several engagements with the Parliamentary Caucus on Coffee Reforms from which law, policies and regulations for enactment or review have been identified and recommendations made.

 The Meru conference will further re-examine the legal frameworks for a collective input.

 “We have been exposed to blatant exploitation from all sides. A farmer, who produces coffee cannot afford a cup of the same product despite good export market prices. From the coffee summit, we look forward to bitter results for the brokers, but sweet benefits for those of us who toil,” said Nicholas Mesa, a coffee farmer.

Gachagua has also engaged experts from Ethiopia on good practices on running farmer-centred cooperatives and direct linkage to the consumers in high-value markets like the United States.

Some of the emerging practices that are expected to come up for consideration in Meru include capitalizing on the distinct flavour and aroma of the Kenyan coffee in marketing, and strengthening cooperatives as key actors to the consumers.

During last month’s visit by the Vice President of Colombia Francia Marquez, the DP and the South American leader explored ways of working together in penetrating high-value markets such as Canada, Belgium and the US.

One of the focus areas of the Summit is tightening of the legal frameworks with a view to instituting laws, policies and regulations that will enable farmer-centred structural and systematic long-term interventions for sound coffee reforms.

President William Ruto has tasked his Deputy to lead public reforms, including in the coffee, tea and milk sub-sectors which are the three key areas of focus as the Kenya Kwanza administration rolls out programs to revamp the agriculture sector. 

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