Murang’a farmers urge Govt to suspend Coffee Regulations 2019

Members of Gatagua Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Society in Murang’a County have urged the government to suspend the Coffee Regulations 2019.

During a Special General Meeting held recently, the farmers argued that the new regulations do not favor competition in the marketing of coffee hence denies them a chance to explore other opportunities for better returns.

Coffee Regulations 2019 require coffee cooperative societies to channel their produce through 11 licensed union brokerage firms or through the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (NKPCU).

The farmers argued that the government should not force them to sell their coffee to unions, which they claim, are poorly managed and marred by leadership wrangles. The government has been pushing for implementation of the new regulations where buyers, millers and marketers of coffee are supposed to stick to their respective duties.

They resolved to continue delivering their produce to their contracted millers, based on the impressive returns and support they have been getting since 2019.

The Society’s Chairman Harrison Chege said after sourcing for a miller in 2019, their production moved up from about 56,000 kilos to more than 500,000 kilos annually.

According to Chege, the increased production is attributed to good returns the farmers are getting from their contracted miller, noting that the new regulations now require them to only deliver their coffee through Murang’a Farmers Cooperative Union, where they have little trust in.

The chairman further said lack of structured talks between farmers’ representatives and the 11 licensed brokerage union firms has seen farmers withhold coffee in stores.

Wilson Irungu, one of the farmers, lamented that selling their coffee through Murang’a Farmers Cooperative Union and its brokerage firm is counterproductive.

“The government ought to buy our produce directly.  The farmers, if pushed negatively, will have no option but to uproot their coffee trees and plant alternative crops.” Irungu said.

By Thuita Jaswant

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