Uhuru forms team to fix coffee sector woes

Friday March 4 2016

Farmers at Kagere Coffee Factory in Othaya

Farmers at Kagere Coffee Factory in Othaya weigh coffee parchment as they embarked on a counting exercise following theft where over 200 bags stolen. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By OTIATO GUGUYU
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President Uhuru Kenyatta has constituted a 19-member taskforce come up with solutions to problems affecting the coffee sector within 20 days.

The newly formed taskforce that will be chaired by Professor Joseph Kieyah assisted by Agriculture Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe have their in-tray full to develop a value chain that will overhaul the coffee sector.

According to a Gazette Notice issued Friday, the taskforce which will directly report to the President will have up to March 24, to collect views and come up with recommendations.

“The taskforce is to conduct consultations with coffee stakeholders undertake literature review to learn best practices utilized by farmers in other coffee producing countries and review the entire coffee value chain,” the terms of reference on the gazette notice read.

CONTROVERSY

The move to address troubles at the coffee sector has however courted controversy splitting farmers over whether it was well calculated.

Kenya Small scale Coffee Growers Association (KESCOGA) welcomed the directive to form a task while another group, Peasant Coffee Farmers Association of Kenya (PCFAK) renounced the move.

KESCOGA however said they support the president's condition that farmers play a central role in the task force.

Members of the committee include Githuku Mwangi, Robin Achoki, Andrew Karanja, Susan Maira, Patrick Katingima, Kevin Ashley, Anne Onyango, Hiram Mwangi Mwaninki, Newton Nderitu, Adrian Atugi, Philomena Koskei, Paul Kukubo, Josephat Makhanu, Nelson Sima.

The Attorney General’s Office will also send a representative with lawyers Dann Mwangi and Morris Kaburu sitting in as joint secretaries.