Gatundu North coffee farmers protest over unreleased cherry funds
Saturday, June 26th, 2021 13:49 | 2 mins read
Coffee farmers from Githobokoni, Gathaiti and Gatei factories in Gatundu North, Kiambu County have protested over delayed release of their cherry funds, months after their counterparts across the country received their dues.
The farmers from the factories that form 3Gs coffee cooperative society said they had not received their dues since December last year when the government enacted the new coffee sector reforms that saw a rise in their seasonal pay per kilogram of coffee sold.
The farmers' returns were also determined by the quality and quantity of the cherry sold.
Despite having grappled with years of neglect, poor returns, political interference and lack of a legislative framework to guide the sector, the aggrieved farmers decried that their society managed has continued to hold their pay without showing cause, a situation that has turned them into beggars.
The farmers, most of whom are elderly persons said they have been unable to pay their farm workers and or purchase fertilizers for continued production.
"Due to my age, I cannot work at my plantation and this forces me to employ people to work in the farm. I have not paid most of them for months because of this delay," Phyllis Waithera, an elderly woman said.
Led by Peter Njau, the irate farmers accused their society management of taking them in circles and urged Agriculture CS Peter Munya to intervene and compell the management to release their funds.
"I personally have delivered over 500kgs of cherry and I expect a pay of not less than Sh 40,0000 going by the current market rating. It's sad that my children are at home because of school fees yet I have money which has been held by the society," said Njau.
The over 1,500 furious coffee plantation owners vowed to uproot the crop despite recent impressive earnings should their management continue to hold their money for no reason.
The farmers who spoke this morning after a meeting that had been convened to discuss the fate of the society ended in disarray further called for an overhaul in the society management for transparency going forward.
Efforts to reach the management for a comment were unproductive.