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Uhuru promises to donate coffee roaster and grader to Othaya farmers

Thursday December 01 2016
othaya-pic

Officials from the Specialty Coffee Association of America inspect coffee milling at Othaya Coffee Factory in Nyeri County on November 30, 2016. President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised to donate a commercial roaster and a grader to Othaya coffee millers in order to increase farmers’ returns. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By IRENE MUGO

President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised to donate a commercial roaster and a grader to Othaya coffee millers in order to increase farmers’ returns.

Speaking in Othaya during his two-day tour in the Central region, the president also pledged 31,000 bags of subsidized fertilizers for tea and coffee farmers.

“We want our farmers to reap from their hard work and increase their returns by value addition. It is the way to go,” he said.

President Kenyatta emphasised that adding value to coffee is the only way to go and will be the trademark of the cash crop that is most traded after oil in the country.

The grader is expected to determine the quality of coffee that is produced by the farmers while they work on improving their quality.

The President noted that coffee uptake in the county is low because value addition has not been aggressively pursued.

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Mr Kenyatta had earlier in March constituted a 19-member taskforce to come up with solutions affecting the coffee sector as well as remove cartels that exploit the farmers.

TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS

Some of the key recommendations by the task force included direct marketing of Kenyan coffee, both locally and internationally, that involves branding and promoting the country’s coffee.

This comes after he waived Sh2.4 billion in debts owed by coffee farmers.

He also said farmers who had secured loans using their title deeds should collect them.

In the 2015/16 year, coffee farmers earned more than Sh23 billion from 45,000 tonnes of coffee compared to Sh22.3 billion the previous year.

Following the offer by the president, Othaya Coffee Society chairman James Gathua said they will get quotations for the machines which they will forward to the president.

“We are very happy and we really appreciate because it takes us a step higher than where we are,” said Mr Gathua.

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