DP Gachagua to work with National Assembly in reviewing laws governing coffee subsector.
DP Gachagua has pledged to collaborate with the National Assembly in conducting a comprehensive review of the legislative, operational, and other gaps that exist within the coffee sub-sector.
During a consultative meeting with the Parliamentary Coffee Reforms Caucus Chairperson, MP Gathoni Wamuchomba, and coffee marketing experts, including Ethiopian Tadesse Meskela and US-based Kenyan Laban Njuguna, DP Gachagua expressed concerns that poor marketing strategies and obsolete institutions have contributed to declining earnings for coffee farmers.
He engaged in consultations to gather insights to inform the ongoing coffee sub-sector reforms.
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“Globally, consumers of coffee are paying one of the highest prices ever. It is, however, a sad story in Kenya as farmers continue to be poorer and poorer. President William Ruto and I are offering full political support to Parliament to do what it takes to bring back better returns to the farmer,” he said at the Harambee House Annex meeting.
Numerous engagements are pointing to brokers and other hindrances as the cause of limited benefits for farmers, the DP noted that systemic issues could be addressed through the introduction of new or amended legislation.
“We have a responsibility to change the situation for the Kenya farmer to earn a dignified life. That is why we are consulting even beyond our borders for good practices and lessons. These will enrich our national dialogue for informed sustainable action,” he said.
He noted that one of the most effective methods is to connect coffee farmers directly with the buyer following aggregation. He emphasized the need to eliminate any other obstacles that add to operational costs, thereby enabling more money to reach the farmers.
“We have interacted with reports and engaged production and marketing experts; it is clear that prolonged chains from production to sale gates are not adding value to the farmer. They are unnecessary burden,” Gachagua said.
The review of laws governing the coffee sub-sector may include the Agriculture and Food Authority Act, 2013, Crops Act 2013, and Cooperative Societies Act, 2020, among others.
The DP also revealed plans to hold a coffee conference to gather more input from national and grassroots stakeholders, including farmers, before making any legislative amendments.
Moreover, the DP suggested that while coffee grading remains the criteria fofr quality determination, Kenya should also explore marketing its distinct flavors at the international level.
During the meeting, MP Wamuchomba expressed concerns about the theft of coffee berries from factories and during transportation, to which the Deputy President promised to work with the Ministry of Interior to address the matter.
Additionally, the DP emphasized the importance of farmer sensitization as a key factor in uplifting and sustaining the quality of Kenyan coffee, which in turn will lead to better pay.