As the world prepares to celebrate International Coffee Day on Monday, the government plans to develop an industrial coffee park in Nairobi as a measure to revitalise the troubled sector.
The park will see coffee from all counties undergo full processing, from milling, roasting, liquoring, blending and even packaging as well as value addition.
The park, according to a joint-report compiled by the ministries of Agriculture and that of Trade, will be developed at the Coffee Directorate 20-acre piece of land in Nairobi.
However, due to its huge funding, the government plans to develop it through a public-private arrangement.
The report also indicates that the project has no time frame since the government is sourcing for partners as well as funds.
According to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, the revitalisation of the industry will be carried out by an inter-ministerial committee as ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
It will also be assisted by the county governments that produce coffee.
“Through this industrial park, we want to be like Germany which is now the leading exporters of coffee. To our advantage is that we not only produce farm coffee, but we also produce the best so we can comfortably brand package and brand ours for export,” he noted.
He stated that the park will enhance value addition through promotion of local consumption.
In 2010, local coffee consumption stood at 509.90 metric tonnes but rose in 2017 to 1,051.2 metric tonnes which translate to three per cent of the total production.
According to Mr Kiunjuri, the formal coffee brewing sector has experienced a remarkable growth from 14 coffee shops in 2001 to 399 presently.
Apart from developing an industrial coffee park, the two ministries have also come up with a measure on value addition that projects to profile coffee production areas into seven regions based on quality attributes.
The government has also targeted to rehabilitate, modernise and automate 250 factories this year while another 250 are targeted for next year as well as develop coffee data base.
Mr Kiunjuri also noted that his ministry will establish coffee cherry advance payment scheme.
He said the government is targeting to boost the kitty for cherry advance fund to cover 50 percent of the amount of cherry harvested this year and 100 percent in the subsequent years at Sh15 per kilo.
The CS said Sh2.1 billion is in circulation towards this initiative.
“We will revive Kenya National Trading Corporation as well as modernise the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) after which we will embark on developing commodity exchange and warehouse receipt system,” he added.
Already the first phase of national coffee modernisation where the auction system has been upgraded has been finalised and a Cabinet memo on the registration of NCE as legal entity is in progress.
The team will oversee the revitalisation of the sector that has so far seen the country lose its former glory of a major producer of the ‘black gold’.
After the presidential directive, the two ministries formed an inter-ministerial committee to relook at the major proposed interventions along the coffee value chain and agree on which player is best suited to undertake each of the planned interventions.
The joint ad hoc committee planned interventions are in line with the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on coffee reforms.
It will also review coffee regulations, Co-operative Societies Act as well amendment of the Crops Act before it enacts the co-operatives policy.
Currently, the country produces 40,000 metric tonnes of clean coffee annually compared to the best time ever which was in 1989 when it hit 130,000 metric tonnes.
To attain its projected yield of 100,000 metric tonnes by 2022, the Ministry of Agriculture has pledged to distribute one million seedlings of Ruiru 11 and Batian to farmers and 1.5 million seedlings in the subsequent years up to 2022.
Kenya will hold the coffee celebration in Kirinyaga, a leading producer of the beverage. The event will be organised by International Coffee Organisation charged with the responsibility of promoting coffee production, consumption and growth of the coffee industry.