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Kibirigwi farmers stop factory’s bid to sell coffee at night

Tuesday September 3 2019

 Kibirigwi Coffee Factory

A lorry which had its windscreen shattered by angry farmers as they prevented it from transporting their produce at night from Kibirigwi Coffee Factory in Kirinyaga County on April 2, 2019. PHOTO | GEORGE MUNENE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GEORGE MUNENE
By GEORGE MUNENE
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Chaos erupted at Kibirigwi Coffee Factory in Kirinyaga County when angry farmers attacked a lorry which was loaded with bags of coffee worth millions of shillings which was about to be transported.

There was tension Monday night as the farmers stoned the vehicle and shattered its windscreen and attempted to lynch the driver, accusing the factory’s management of plotting to sell their coffee secretly.

The farmers stormed the factory at 10pm and blocked the lorry which was leaving.

Stones flew as the farmers attacked the vehicle, vowing to stop unauthorised sale of their produce.

DRIVER VANISHES

The panic-stricken driver hurriedly alighted and vanished into the dark with the mob in hot pursuit.

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As the farmers turned rowdy anti-riot police arrived and dispersed them.

The officers guarded the coffee throughout the night and left the factory Tuesday morning.

Kibirigwi Coffee Factory

Police officers guard Kibirigwi Coffee Factory in Kirinyaga County on April 2, 2019 after farmers stopped an attempt to transport their produce at night to an undisclosed miller. PHOTO | GEORGE MUNENE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

When interviewed, the farmers lashed out at the management for scheming to sell coffee without their consent.

"We had not agreed on the miller of our choice but the management wanted to sell it without our knowledge," one of farmers, Mr Mwangi Wang'ondu, said.

RESIST

The farmers said they will continue resisting attempts by the management to trade with their produce without proper agreement.

They said they suspected that something was wrong when they learnt that coffee was being transported at night.

"If the officials are honest as they want us to believe, why were they transporting our coffee at night?" another farmer asked.

Kirinyaga West Deputy County commissioner Moses Ivuto criticised the management for taking such a move.

He said the officials erred for going against the wishes of the farmers and ordered that coffee be offloaded and returned to the stores.

"Coffee belongs to the farmers who have the final say on who should buy it," said Mr Ivuto.

He warned that stern action will be taken against the management if it defies his order.