Co-operatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Development Principal Secretary Patrick Kiburi Kilemi has revealed that the government has made tremendous progress in coffee reforms that will see revival of the struggling sub sector.
Speaking during the Kenya Coffee Trade meeting, the PS said the government is committed to reform the sub sector and make coffee farming productive.
He stated that president William Ruto’s administration has taken cognizance of the strategic role the coffee subsector plays towards poverty alleviation, economic empowerment, foreign exchange earnings, food security and job creation.
Earlier, the president held a successful three-day conference in Meru with the coffee sector stakeholders to ensure that the process was consultative and that everyone’s voice was heard.
The Ministry is in the process of preparing instruments that will be taken to parliament to entrench the resolutions of this conference.
The president tasked Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua with the responsibility of jumpstarting and fast tracking the implementation of the Coffee sector Reforms.
The reforms have seen licensing of eleven registered coffee co-operative unions to sell coffee directly at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange and overseas, thereby eliminating the need for middleman between the farmer and the buyer.
Five other unions will be licensed before end of August.
Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has been entrenched as the Regulator of the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) with the government expecting it to oversee a transparent and efficient price discovery process.
NCE has appointed, and CMA approved the Direct Settlement System which will lead to speedy and transparent clearing and settlement of the coffee sale proceeds to the coffee farmers. This will help improve the accountability and governance of our Co-operative Societies.
The PS said the government has ensured there is order and fair play in the coffee value chain by eliminating conflict of interest among players as County Governments, Capital Markets Authority and Agriculture & Food Authority will license milling, brokers and buyers respectively.
“By having three distinct licensing authorities, there will be checks and balances along the value chain for the best interest of the Kenyan Coffee Farmer,” he said, adding that the government is in the final stages of working on a modality jointly with County Governments and Capital Markets Authority on registration of Small, Medium and Large Estates into Co-operatives or Associations to enable these categories of farmers also access brokerage licenses from The Capital Markets Authority immediately.
The PS noted that the Government is committed to spurring production of coffee from the current 51,000 MT to 81,000 MT by 2024 and progressively to 260,000MT by 2027.
This will be achieved by lowering cost of production through subsidizing farm inputs, streamlining the accessibility and disbursement of the Cherry Advance Revolving fund at New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (NKPCU) and revamping the Coffee Research through reintroduction of the Coffee Research Institute.
There will also be reintroduction of the Coffee Board of Kenya to oversight and coordinate the coffee policy.
By Obegi Malack
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