By John Majau
The County Government of Meru has raised the red flag against poorly performing coffee societies making losses and threatened to close them for being a liability to farmers.
The Government has also put on notice societies producing less than 5,000 kilogrammes of coffee annually saying they will be merged to form strong co-operatives.
Meru Trade and Co-operative minister Maingi Mugambi said it was not prudence for farmers to continue delivering their coffee loss-making institutions adding that merging was the best option.
He was speaking to officials and members of various co-operative societies at Maili Tatu grounds in Igembe Central constituency.
“We have no option but to close or merge societies that are recording losses or those producing 5,000 kilogrammes of coffee annually. Poorly performing coffee societies will inevitably be closed,” said Mugambi.
The minister noted even if the societies paid farmers Sh60 per a kilo and have low produce it was not practical to make profit since they have to pay wages to secretaries, watchmen, supervisors, loaders and others leaving little for the farmers.
Mugambi said the move is meant to revive the coffee sector in the county which has continued to wither due to low production.
He said the task-force that was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta has recommended that 80 per cent of coffee revenue must go to the farmer while the balance should be used to pay salaries and cater for their day-to-day expenses.
The resolution came after it emerged that some societies across the nine sub-counties were paying farmers as little as Sh30 for a kilo of the crop while others were paying for Sh60 for the same.