Coffee societies back joint marketing [Business Daily (Kenya)]
(Business Daily (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua's plan for joint coffee marketing got a boost last week when 22 societies out of the 23 in the county backed the bid.
A number of farmers who met at Mutheka Coffee Factory announced they would support the strategy. So far, board members in 13 coffee societies have gone to court to contest the joint marketing plan.
It has, however, emerged that most farmers opposing the move fear the debts amounting to Sh800 million would be recovered from their proceeds when joint marketing takes effect.
"The government in 2012 announced that it was taking over the debts..but the government is yet to honour its promise and it appears we are still liable for our debts," said Grace Gathoga, representing estate coffee farmers.
Kibugi Thairu, a farmer, said they would only allow transporters with permission from the County Government to access their coffee.
Another farmer, Ronald Ngare, said they were in agreement with the governor "that the only way to maximise coffee farming benefits is to join a single marketing front."
Nyeri County has proposed the formation of Mt Kenya Coffee Development Company Limited.
"Let Mr Gachagua note that filing of the case was not a resolution by farmers. It is a unilateral decision taken by our managers," Mr Ngare added.
The governor said he would not be deterred by "the few individuals who do not serve the best interests of the coffee farmers." County Agriculture director Shadrack Mubea said "the county government is mandated to manage crop productions and co-operative societies are devolved functions."
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