Kericho coffee farmers make historic direct sales to S. Korea

By Benedict Ng’etich

Coffee farmers in Kericho have broken historical records by exporting to Korea 134.4 tonnes of coffee valued at $908,160 directly to South Korea.

The farmers bypassed the Coffee Auction and deep rooted cartels in the value chain in the process doing direct sales, taking advantage of current reforms in the sector.

At an all high of Ksh 100 per kilogramme, the returns will be good and the proceeds from the sale will go towards payment of 9,582 small scale coffee farmers spread across Kericho, Bomet and Nandi Counties.

There have been long standing complaints that the coffee value chain disenfranchises small holder growers limiting direct sales, which has been benefitting intermediaries more than the producers.

“For the first time in Kenya’s history, small scale coffee farmers have done a complete vertical integration of the coffee value chain  displacing the predatory brokers and other greedy intermediaries who have denied us direct access to the market,” the Kipkelion District Cooperative Union Chairman Dr. Joseph Koskei was quoted.

During the historic occasion in coffee sales, the Governor of Kericho County Prof. Paul Chepkwony who flagged off the consignment said a new milestone had been achieved in the direct sale of the commodity to the outside world.

He said his government had played a major role together with the Kipkelion District Coffee Union in looking for markets in the UK, Germany, Middle East and some Scandinavian countries.

According to the governor, the recommendations of the National Task Force on the Coffee Sub-sector Reforms, 2016, had started bearing fruits.

He was accompanied by Trade and Industry CECM Mr. Charles Birech, his Agriculture counterpart Eng. Philip Mason and Trade Officer Mr. Victor Langat.

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