Coffee farmers cry foul

 Coffee farmers from Meru have accused the Government of failing to initiate reforms in the industry.

About 200 farmers’ representatives attending a training in Meru Town, organised by the Coffee Board of Kenya, blamed Agriculture minister Kipruto arap Kirwa and his co-operative counterpart, Njeru Ndwiga, of messing up the coffee sector.
They censured the two ministers for failing to revamp the sector, especially the marketing sector, which they said was the root cause of poor prices at the auction.

“We want the minister for agriculture to keep off the affairs of CBK and the Coffee Research Foundation. He has no business nominating directors for the two bodies because they are autonomous. Farmers have the right to elect directors,” said Phares Kinoti, a Coffee Board of Kenya Zone 4 director.

Kinoti, who is in charge of coffee societies in the three districts of Meru Central, Meru North and Meru South said the Coffee Act 2001 had outdated clauses.

“The Government has no stake in the restructured CBK. The board is now fully owned by farmers. We do not want the minister to nominate directors who would be his puppets,” Kinoti said.

The farmers also told the Government to speed up the process of reimbursing Sh641 million owed to them. They said the money was misappropriated about five years ago when CBK was being restructured.
They wondered why the money was not repaid yet the Cabinet approved payment last year. They accused the Government of making promises that went unfulfilled. The farmers said it had promised to revamp the coffee sector, which it did not do.

By: Patrick Muriung
Source:The Standard

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