Coffee earnings dropped by Sh3 billion in 11 months to August, 2019, in comparison with the same period last year as low price at the international market weighed down on farmers income.
Market report from the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) indicates that the crop earned the country Sh11 billion at the end of last month, down from Sh14 billion that was realised in the same period last year.
The coffee season kicks off in October.
NCE chief executive officer Daniel Mbithi says the low earnings resulted from a consistent trend of low prices at New York, where Kenya trades nearly all of its coffee.
“The earnings dropped on account of the dipping in prices at New York terminal which touched a record low of 86 cents per pound in 2019 compared with a high of 120 last year,” said Mr Mbithi.
The price of the commodity at New York Coffee Exchange had, however, shot to a high of 106 cents per pound in July before sliding back to below 100 cents per pound currently.
Subsequently, the average price for a 50-kilo bag went down to Sh15,965 in the review period down from Sh21,321 realised in corresponding period in 2018, representing a 23 percent decline.
The volumes sold during the review period was up by two percent to 556,608 bags of 60 kilogrammes compared with last year’s 545,509.
Coffee Directorate has been campaigning over the years urging Kenyans to increase the consumption of the beverage in order to cut over-reliance on the world market to cushion the price from external shocks.
Kenya has one of the best coffees in the world that is highly sought after by roasters for blending with other low quality from other regions.
But the production has significantly dropped when compared with her peers in the region, with Uganda, which was at par with the country in the previous years now widening the gap.
Since early 1990s to 2010/11 crop year, area under coffee has declined by 35 percent from 170,000 hectares to 109, 795 hectares as farmers abandoned the crop due to poor management.