Nyeri county has earmarked Sh17 million for the resuscitation of the coffee sector following the low production output last season.
Governor of the county, Mutahi Kahiga revealed that the fund will enhance coffee production as well as boost soil fertility by providing lime and other farm inputs.
According to the data collected by the Agriculture Department in the county, it shows that farmers picked 20 million kilogrammes of cherry compared to 24 million of the previous season.
“The major challenge we have in coffee farming is soil acidity and we are going to correct that by providing lime to our farmers so that they can improve on production,” he said.
He further banked on the Coffee Bill 2020 proposed by the Agriculture CS Peter Munya, saying if passed, would be beneficial to farmers.
“I am certain that farmers will receive over Sh100 per kilo of cherry should the Bill be passed… the farmers will also benefit from good governance in coffee management,” he said.
However, farmers are currently picking three kilos of coffee cherry from a single tree whereas, they are capable of picking 10 to 30 kilos.
Other factors that have also contributed to the decline in production rate are change in climatic condition and farmers diversifying in other ventures.
As a result of corruption and managerial problems, farmers shunned coffee picking while those who did sold it at farm gate prices of Sh40 per kilogramme.
“This signals a bad trend for cooperatives because what farmers want is money and they are not getting it in their factories,” said Mr James Kagunyo, a farmer from Mukurwe-ini.
The instability of the weather conditions has also made coffee plants not sprout due to the presence of rain thus inhibiting the crop from undergoing its complete reproduction cycle.
“The berries aborted due to the chilly and cold weather hence we did not have much to deliver to the factories,” Mr Kagunyo added.
Source: AgroAfrica Mmagazine