Munya says KPCU will protect farmers from brokers

By John Majau

Agriculture CS Peter Munya has urged farmers to take coffee to the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU).

He said the government has enforced new regulations for the benefit of farmers by sealing loopholes that existed before.

He warned farmers that they will only have themselves to blame if they take their coffee elsewhere and it gets stolen by brokers.

The CS regretted that brokers had penetrated the coffee sector making the farmers poor.

“It’s like when a goat is slaughtered and the brokers eat all the meat while the farmer is only left with bones,” Munya said.

Munya held several public participation sessions for coffee farmers in Meru and said New KPCU has minimal milling losses compared to coffee unions that were there before.

“When union was milling, the average loss was about 24 per cent but now it has gone down to 17 percent and that means that there was some inflated figure of about six percent,” Munya said.

The CS said about 70 to 80 per cent of coffee was previously grade C under the unions but that has improved to 70 or 80 per cent grade A,meaning there are chances quality was previously tampered with.

The CS said the new Coffee Bill will seal such loopholes so that farmers can get returns.

He added that said farmers will now get loans at three per cent from the Cherry Advanced Fund without any security, provided they deliver coffee to factories.

“Farmers just need to fill forms and take to their societies so that they can be signed by managers,” Munya said.

He however regretted that some managers were colluding with cartels to steal from farmers by refusing to sign the forms.

“If they refuse to sign in two weeks I will dissolve [the societies] and the farmers will elect new people,” he warned.

The CS said the coffee factories under the new KPCU will also be equipped with new milling technology and have security enhanced through the use of CCTV cameras to prevent coffee theft. The new Coffee Bill will also see the return of Coffee Board of Kenya, the Coffee Research Foundation and streamlining of Nairobi Coffee Exchange.

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