By Roy Hezron
Agriculture and Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has assured farmers that the draft Coffee Bill 2020 will curtail corruption in the sector.
Under the proposed law will officials leading coffee co-operative societies will only elected to serve for not more than two terms.
Coffee factories will also be free to register as autonomous societies and appoint their own millers.
“Officials who have overstayed in leadership are to blame for the downfall of the sector since they have developed ways of siphoning farmers’ earnings,” said Munya at Kirere area in Kigumo, Murang’a County.
The Bill also requires that millers disclose milling costs to farmers and the producers will also be in a position to monitor the whole milling process.
The Bill caps milling costs at Sh4, 000 per tonne and it should not cost more than 18 percent because society officials used to claim that a lot of money was lost through milling denying farmers money.
Munya attributed pain and suffering of coffee farmers to mismanagement of majority of Coffee Societies in the country.
He was speaking in Murang’a County during a public sensitization programme of the draft Coffee Bill 2020 last week.
Munya said officials elected to manage coffee societies are engaged in corrupt deals making farmers incur debts and sink into poverty.
“Coffee Co-operatives were usually audited by internal auditors who colluded with the factory officials to deny farmers the truth on how their money has been spent,” said Munya.
He said farmers also lost their earning through a poorly managed production and marketing chain of their coffee.
“We want to start from testing soils so we are sure on the type of fertilizer to be applied. We will also bring in high yielding coffee variety as production of coffee is a key component in reviving the sector,” he added.
Munya further said digitization of operations in coffee factories and replacement of aged equipment and machines would help to cut production costs.
He also encouraged coffee farmers to take advantage of Cherry Advance Fund which the government has set aside to boost coffee production.
“Forms to apply for cherry funds are found in local administration offices. Pick and fill them,” he said.
Three year ago, the government allocated Sh3 billion to give farmers advance and save them from accruing expensive bank loans.
Munya asked farmers to report if the officials of the societies fail to sign the forms so that they can change the whole management of those societies.