Coffee production in central Kenya has dropped by 20 per cent this year due to delays by cooperative societies to pay farmers.
The output dropped to 39,000 tonnes from 47,000 tonnes last year, according to Coffee Management Services (CMS) managing director Kamau Kuria.
Mr Kuria attributed the lower production to poor management of the cooperatives.
“Farmers were paid their dues late. As a result, they did not purchase the best fertiliser for their farms. I urge the cooperatives’ management to equip their farmers with the necessary information about coffee production.”
The payment delays killed the farmers’ morale to produce more coffee this year, he said at the Central Kenya Coffee Mill, where the most efficient coffee cooperatives were rewarded.
Mr Kuria said CMS was partnering with county governments for better payment of the produce.
“Farmers are motivated to produce more if they receive better payment. They cannot put a lot of effort on a crop that is not yielding much in the market.”
He disclosed that CMS, the Dutch Government, Nestle and Solidaridad East Africa were implementing a seven-year food security project.
“The aim of this project is to supplement incomes from coffee farming through diversification.”
Mr Kuria said CMS was committed to certifying coffee cooperatives with the aim of standardising and sustaining quality in production and processing to meet market needs.
He urged farmers to take advantage of the December rainy season to improve the quality of their coffee.
He at the same time asked the national and county governments to formulate policies that ensured coffee farmers improve on production and marketing.
CMS is working with 35,000 farmers in Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Embu and Meru counties.
During the ceremony, Gachatha Coffee was ranked the best cooperative in Nyeri, having paid the highest amount — Sh75 per kilogramme.