Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture said that the export of Arabica coffee has improved in the recent past amid ongoing reforms in the sub sector.
Peter Munya, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, said on Monday that the coffee variety has continued to attract buyers from lucrative export markets across the globe, reports Xinhua news agency.
Munya told reporters in Nairobi that in the 2019-20 coffee year, the country exported 46,333 metric tonnes of green bean equivalent that earned 22 billion shillings ($204 million).
He said that despite Kenyan coffee continuing to fetch top dollars in the international market, the payments to farmers per kilogram of cherry have continued to decline.
“We intend to reform the sub sector by improving efficiency, performance and earnings to farmers as well as increase international sales of the commodity,” Munya said during the launch of the national coffee revitalization progress report.
He said that farmers will henceforth be given discretion in the processing, trading, sale and payments for their coffee beans.
Munya said that marketing agents that have been doubling up as some coffee buyers will be outlawed in coffee business through the Coffee Bill 2021 that is undergoing public participation by the National Assembly.
The legal and regulatory coffee sector reforms are aimed at addressing governance challenges that plagued the sector with a view to giving coffee growers discretion in the processing, trading, sale and payments for their coffee.
It will also identify the root cause of disparity in the high earnings of Kenya’s Arabica coffee in the export markets and the low prices paid to farmers.
Kenya’s acreage under coffee production has decreased by over 30 per cent from about 170,000 hectares in early 1990s to about 119,000 hectare in 2020.
The production of the cash crop has also decreased by a whopping 70 per cent from a peak of 129,000 metric tonnes in 1983-84 coffee year to about 40,000 metric tonnes currently.
Kenya’s coffee is currently grown on approximately 120,000 hectares spread across 33 counties, supporting over 800,000 households and over five million citizens directly and indirectly.