Kiambu coffee farmers protest new coffee reforms
Coffee Farmers in Kiambu County have protested the proposed National Assembly Coffee Bill, 2021 demanding representation into various institutions managing the sector.
The proposed bill which its public presentation commenced on Thursday at Ngemwa Primary School in Githunguri, seeks implementation of new reforms by reviving the Coffee Board of Kenya and Coffee Research Institute.
However, the bill is facing some hurdles due to a deadlock between the Ministry of Agriculture and Capital Markets Authority (CMA) over the matter.
Farmers have claimed to be burdened by the cooperative societies through the Societies Act urging the government for an overhaul of the law.
“In improving coffee production we need money for inputs, pruning and labou…we are asking for a friendly means of funding between an individual and the millers,” Peter Mbugua, a farmer from Komothai, told the committee.
The farmers are urging the National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock Chairman Silas Tiren to quicken the proposed amendments.
The Coffee Farmers said the reforms will salvage them from exploitations by the cooperative societies.
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They also directed the committee to address the issue of unrealistic operational costs for cooperative societies and Coffee proceeds payments.
Dual registration of millers as marketing agents and lack of sound procedure for the appointment of millers are part of the complaints raised by the farmers.
“The thing we are not happy about is how we are short-changed in the milling and marketing and end up being paid very little money. That is why most farmers are very demoralized,“ said Kamau Mburu.
The key agencies the farmers are calling for representation include the Coffee Board of Kenya (CBK) and Coffee Research Foundation (CRF)
Farmers have also raised an alarm in the promotion of split of cooperative societies which rendered cooperative societies moribund.
Coffee auction prices for crop 2020/2021 have held a steady increase throughout the auction period with the auction price increasing in January this year to Ksh.694 per kilo up from Ksh.658 per kilo in December last year.
The protestants are drawn from Komothai, Githunguri, Gatundu South, Ngemwa and Gatundu North.