Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has slammed the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) for attempting to regulate coffee brokers.
According to CS Munya, CMA’s house is not in order and that agricultural products are not within its mandate.
This coming barely a fortnight after the Kenya Coffee Producers Association (CPA) dismissed the authority’s intentions over what they termed as lack of expertise in the coffee business.
CMA is mandated to regulate the coffee commodity market under section 11(3) of the Capital Markets Act as gazetted by the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani in April 2020.
CS Munya, however, distanced himself from the approval of the CMA Act, which allowed the authority to engage in the coffee business.
“Go and give me the letter, which shows I approved the amendment. I did not, it was done by other people not me and they had their own reasons. The fact that the Coffee Exchange is called an exchange does not mean it is an exchange – it is actually an auction and there is nowhere in the law where CMA has been mandated to regulate auctions. I think they are overreaching and there are a lot of challenges there,” said CS Munya.
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CS Munya was speaking during a progress report on the National Coffee Revitalization with stakeholders in the subsector at a Nairobi hotel.
Laikipia women representative and the vice-chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Cate Waruguru assured farmers and stakeholders of a complete overhaul in the agriculture sector by the end of the year.
This even as CS Munya endeared himself to the farmers saying the bill he sponsored and is before parliament is farmer-centric. He poured cold on the counter bill by Senator Njeru Ndwiga saying it does not have much to offer.
“Introducing another bill was quite strange because this bill as farmer-driven. I have looked at both bills, the Senate Bill is just a framework, and it is not proposing any major policy reforms,” Munya noted.
Coffee Farmers want CMA out
The CPA Chairman, Peter Gikonyo, expressed concerns that the proposal by the two bills to have farmers’ representatives in coffee board and the Coffee Research Foundation appointed by the government is a scheme to disassociate the farmer from his crop.
“Government appointees will by no means serve the interests of the farmer but the interest of the appointing authority. Does this mean the farmer is not capable of making decisions of coffee farming business, yet this same farmer is capable of making decisions to bring the product on table for sale?’’ questioned the chairman.
Farmers are also opposed to the proposal by the Coffee Bill 2020 allowing the coffee factories to register as autonomous societies under the Cooperative Societies threatens the existence of the cooperatives despite the big role played by the coffee cooperative business model.
While the farmers welcome the introduction of (Direct Settlement System) DSS with the view of addressing delayed payments to farmers, they want the system streamlined to eliminate gaps in the operationalization of the system.
“What happens in case of dispute? Where does the farmer run to/ can DSS be sued? The law is also silent on any costs to operationalize the system and who will meet the costs if any,’’ asked the chairman.