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Kirinyaga farmers reject new coffee rules

Sunday September 8 2019

coffee rules

A farmer spreading coffee beans. Kirinyaga coffee cooperative societies leaders on September 8, 2019 rejected the new regulations. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GEORGE MUNENE
By GEORGE MUNENE
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Kirinyaga coffee cooperative societies leaders on Sunday rejected the new regulations aimed at streamlining the ailing sector.

The 2019 regulations have already been gazetted by the national government.

Fifteen chairmen of the local coffee cooperative societies complained that the Coffee Task Force formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta did not seek their views.

REGULATIONS

They threatened to move to court to block the implementation of the regulations which they claimed will be worse than the old ones.

They cited the Direct Settlement System payment for farmers as one of the worst regulations.

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Through the system payments will be deposited into cooperative accounts from the Nairobi exchange and then remitted to the farmers after deductions.

The leaders said there were no clear guidelines on who will be running the system.

"This system is not good at all. We should have been consulted before it was included in the regulations," said the Rung'eto Cooperative Society chairman Fredrick Waweru.

"We are opposed to the regulations and we must file a petition in court challenging them," said Mr Waweru.

Addressing a press conference in Kerugoya town on Sunday, the leaders dismissed the rules as suicidal. It has taken more than three years to work on the rules meant to streamline the coffee market and increase production.

POOR GROWTH

Local coffee production has registered poor growth compared with other neighbouring countries. This prompted President Kenyatta to set up the Task Force to develop the regulations in 2016.

Most farmers have threatened to uproot coffee trees due to poor payment and high cost of production.