Change isn’t always a good thing.
With a government-assembled task force looking at how the troubled Kenya coffee industry can be improved, it seems that a number of regional councils are trying to jump the gun and install changes of their own.
In what is yet another tale of conflict and intrigue, a larger number of farmers protested against a council-backed bill that would bring sweeping reforms to coffee farming with the Nyeri region of the country.
Over the years, there have been too many allegations of collusion, infighting and bitterness within the Kenyan coffee industry to count.
To top things off, late last year the respected Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation, published an article that showed the existence of cartels within the sector.
Over the last few months, we have unfortunately covered a number of stories concerning the theft of coffee from farmers, exporters and production facilities.
With coffee a potentially lucrative crop, we should not be surprised that supplies and warehouses are common targets as it represents an easy source of income for those successful thieves.
“Kenya. All sides, severe gale 9. Stormy. Poor.”
The back-and-forth jousting and political manoeuvring that has blighted the Kenyan coffee industry over the past couple of years is set to enter a new phase of confrontation and delays.
In a bid to secure permits, the Kenya Planters Co-operative Union (KPCU) has gone to court claiming that the authorities are once again treating them unfairly.
A couple of days ago, we looked into a recent spate of coffee thefts that was beginning to blight the Kenyan coffee industry.
Over the past couple of months, processing facilities in a number of important agricultural areas had been targeting, with a substantial value of coffee taken during the raids. And so when the Kagere Coffee Factory was targeted last week, the news garnered national (and international) attention.
200 bags of parchment coffee had been reported as stolen, with a value of some $70,000.
Today, we are covering a very worrying news story that concerns the Kenya coffee industry. According to reports that we have seen, a group of armed individuals raided the Kagere Coffee Factory in Othaya, a town about 120-kilometers north of Nairobi.
The thugs left the facility with 200 bags of coffee, valued at nearly $70,000.
For twelve months now, the Kenya Cooperative Planters Union (KPCU) has been unsuccessful in its attempt to secure a coffee trading licence. Its failure to procure one threatens over 700,000 farmers and is the result of an ongoing dispute that has blighted the coffee industry in Kenya for some time now.
The board has said that its inability to be granted a licence will force its members to deal with an “cartel” of middlemen.
Kenyan farmers have long been talking about and openly protesting against alleged corruption within their country’s coffee industry. Everything and everybody from Low-level deals to the running of the KPCU and even certain government ministers have drawn suspicious glances over the years.
Now, a group of regional MPs have made a move to support the farmers and have demanded that President Uhuru Kenyatta finally makes a move to tackle the problematic issue.
The Kenyan Government moved quickly to deny claims of widespread price fixing at coffee auctions yesterday but did concede that current licensing systems were negatively affecting the industry.
In response to the admission, the Government has started investigating interrelated firms within the coffee sector. …continue reading Double Licensing, Price-Fixing And “Potential Conflicts Of Interest”
Coffee production in Kenya peaked in the late 1980s. A harvest in the 1988-89 growing season topped 129,000 tonnes, but since then, the industry has been in gradual decline. If estimates are to be believed, just 41,000 tonnes will be harvested this year.
Commentators have pointed out that continued mismanagement is to blame, as is the volatility of global coffee prices.
In a bid to counter this downward and worrying trend, Kenya’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority (AFFA) has released details of a five-year plan which will hopefully double the country’s coffee production by 2020.