Kenyans need to carry out a ‘coffee revolution’ to revive the sector - Daily Nation

Kenyans need to carry out a ‘coffee revolution’ to revive the sector

Wednesday September 5 2018

The story, Societies count losses as bid to sell processed coffee flops (DN, August 30) was interesting and almost unbelievable.

That fully processed and packed coffee can be allowed to go to waste while coffee farmers remain unpaid is difficult to comprehend. Why not give the coffee to the farmers for free instead of it rotting in stores?

Sadly, coffee farming is a complex industry. Most farmers grow the crop for sale and curiously consume tea, a competing beverage, or cocoa, which is not grown in Kenya.

When coffee was first introduced in Kenya by the colonialists, only a few Africans — “royal” — who supported the British were allowed to grow it. Eventually, space was opened up with extremely strange rules.

Africans could plant the coffee tree but not uproot it and were not allowed to process the sweet-smelling coffee for domestic consumption. One may now understand why coffee farmers seem to detest the crop.

A lot of hard work is needed to produce coffee due to regular weeding and chemical spraying, unlike tea. Then we often hear coffee has disappeared from a factory. This made thousands of farmers to abandon the crop.

We need a revolution in the coffee sector. First, endear the beverage to the farmers to create a local market. Secondly, encourage the youth to grow the crop and manage the societies. They will also bring innovation and dynamism, which is seriously lacking in the coffee sector.