Gachagua warns coffee farmers of lower prices [Nation (Kenya)]
(Nation (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nyeri Coffee farmers have been asked to expect lower earnings than promised by governor Nderitu Gachagua in a parallel marketing scheme started early this year.
Whereas Mr Gachagwa had promised farmers over Sh100 per kilogramme, he said yesterday that they will receive between Sh50 to Sh83 per kilogramme. This sparked protests from growers who poured cold water on Mr Gachagua's joint milling initiative of coffee beans from the county, with the hope that it would have fetched better prices.
Mr Gachagua said they had managed to sell 41 per cent of the county's coffee directly to overseas buyers and 60 per cent at the auction. The governor termed the pricing as a milestone from the previous years where prices had dropped to as low as Sh12 per kg.
"The good prices that we have today are attributed to the fact that most of these coffee has been sold outside the auction. There was resistance, demonisation and politics from our county MPs and several MCAs who fought to ensure this initiative does not succeed," said the governor.
Four coffee factories that defied the Nyeri governor's directive to pull together and sold their coffee separately earned between Sh67 to Sh80 per kilogramme.
Coffee farmers from Gikanda Coffee Society in Mathira constituency Wednesday openly expressed their disappointment in front of the governor during a meeting at Kangocho Coffee factory.
They accused the county chief of overpromising.
The farmers said the meeting with Mr Gachagua did not address questions of when they will receive the money.
Mr Gachagua met the farmers in a series of meetings scheduled for the next two weeks in all coffee societies which heeded his calls for a joint coffee processing and marketing strategy.
The governor on several occasions had to intervene in between the speeches when some of the officials from the County and Kenya Co-operative Coffee Exporters (KCCE), who had accompanied him, tried to explain why it had taken too long for them to receive their payment and had to wait for one more week.
"I am here with my team to assure you farmers that we have sold all your coffee and money is there. I assure you that within one week, you will receive your money," insisted Mr Gachagua.
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A farmer, Mr Stephen Karanja said he was disappointed with the meeting noting that it had not answered the pertinent question of when to receive their money.
"We are left wondering, why and how. My expectation is that whoever was selling our coffee should have met with the committee first and finalised everything before calling us for this meeting," said Mr Karanja.
"Every bag delivered should be accounted for. We are going home very disappointed people," he added. Another farmer, Mr Alex Maina said what they were being offered was not enough, "Based on what had been promised earlier, I feel that we have been short-changed," he said.
Mr Charles Mathenge, a farmer, said the governor had promised them Sh130 per kg and timely payments and has not kept the promise.
However, the farmers welcomed a directive by the governor for an audit of all societies before the money was released.
Mr Gachagua said it had taken long for farmers to receive their pay since he had instituted an audit to find out loans owed to farmers. Some of the loans were fake and not being supported by any documentation.
" We want to establish whether all these loans they have from millers, marketers, fertilisers suppliers and saccos ,how genuine they are and whether they are actually payable and this can only take about a week," said Mr Gachagua.
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