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Farmers in Kandara block bid to ‘secretly’ sell their coffee

Monday August 19 2019

Irera Coffee Factory in Kandara

Farmers from Irera Coffee Factory in Kandara, Murang’a County on August 17, 2019 protest following the intended sale of their produce, saying they were not involved in the deal. PHOTO | NDUNG'U GACHANE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NDUNG'U GACHANE
By NDUNG'U GACHANE
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Farmers from Irera Coffee Factory in Kandara, Murang’a County have blocked the sale of their produce, saying they were not involved in the deal.

The farmers Saturday stormed the factory and offloaded the sacks of coffee that were about to be transported for sale, claiming that they were not involved in the deal to sell their produce.

The irate farmers described the move by the management to sell their coffee as theft of their hard earned sweat, saying like in the previous process, they were never invited by the management to discuss the intended sale.

HIGHEST BIDDER

“This is outright theft of the coffee produce because as is the norm, we are usually called for a meeting with the interested buyers where we pick the highest bidder. That was not done this time round. A lorry was sneaked into the factory and people started loading the produce without our knowledge,” an angry farmer said.

After learning about the incident, the desperate farmers rushed to the factory and offloaded the coffee before holding demonstrations.

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Mr Elijah Mwangi said following poor pay of Sh24.90 per kilogramme for the previous produce, they had stopped the sale of the coffee until they get explanations of the breakdown from the management, a thing he said has never come to pass.

SECRECY

“The management is shrouded in secrecy in the running and management of our factory. To date they have not explained to us how we ended up being paid Sh24 and 90 cents per kilogramme and now they had secretly brought a lorry to sell our produce without our knowledge. Our mole informed us and we rushed to thwart their move,” Mr Mwangi said.

He said the same buyer who bought their produce at Sh24 had bought coffee from other factories at Sh40.

Another coffee farmer, Netta Njeri Mwai, said she has never received such meagre payment since 1968 when she started farming coffee and demanded to know what led to the low amount. She accused the management of keeping them in the dark about the sale.

EXPLANATION SOUGHT

“We will not allow them to take us for granted. We demand that they explain to us the mystery behind selling our coffee without our involvement and why last year’s payment was low,’ she said.

The farmers expressed fears that there could have been a choreographed move to sell their produce secretly and in return be told that the coffee was stolen.

“This could be a scheme by the rogue management to sell our produce behind our backs and then report to us that unknown people stormed the factory’s stores and stole the coffee as has been then norm since time immemorial. Government agencies must move in and investigate the matter since we no longer have faith in the management,” the farmers said.

Efforts to get a comment from the society’s Chairman John Maina bore no fruit as he declined to talk to journalists.

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