Farmers reject team picked by Uhuru to probe coffee crisis

They said the people appointed were not conversant with coffee farming.

Tuesday March 8 2016

Coffee farmers pray for divine intervention at

Coffee farmers pray for divine intervention at the Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga shrine in Murang'a County on March 7, 2016. The farmers have rejected a team formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to probe the coffee crisis saying it is not representative. PHOTO | MARTIN MWAURA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Farmers have rejected a team formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to probe the coffee crisis saying it is not representative.

The Peasant Coffee Farmers Association (PCFA) through its chairman Harrison Munyi said the President betrayed them by appointing people who were not conversant with coffee farming.

Some of those appointed are also part of cartels fleecing farmers, they said.

Mr Munyi said that due to the exclusion, his association which he says enjoys representation from coffee growing zones countrywide, have no faith in the team.

“From the composition of the team, farmers should brace themselves for the worst because nothing will change,” he said.

Members of the association had earlier threatened to boycott harvesting their crop until Mr Kenyatta intervenes.

And on Friday last week, President Kenyatta appointed 19 people to look into the coffee crisis.

The team was given 20 days to file a report and present it to the President.

REVIEW VALUE CHAIN

It is expected to review the entire coffee value chain and identify areas of needed interventions such as production, processing and marketing of coffee in order to enhance earnings of coffee farmers and participation of the youth in the coffee industry.

Mr Kenyatta, while in a three-day stay at the Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri last month, promised to form the tribunal after an expose by the Nation on cartels bringing down the coffee sector.

Meanwhile, in Murang’a, farmers assembled at Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga shrine to seek divine intervention on the woes facing the coffee sector.

The farmers said the sector was riddled with corruption and buyers collude with cartels to steal from coffee farmers who continue to wallow in poverty.

Led by Mr George Njoya, they also opposed the taskforce saying it will not solve their problems.

“Some members of the task force appointed do not have the interest of peasant coffee farmers at heart,” he said.

Additional reporting by Martin Mwaura

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