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Kenya coffee farmers get international exposure

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 6 – Small holder coffee farmers will now have the opportunity to directly sell their produce to the international market as a result of a new marketing initiative by the Kenya Cooperative Coffee Exporters (KCCE).

Lucy Murumba the Chief Executive Officer of the new organisation that is owned by cooperative societies and unions said on Sunday that the coffee marketing initiative would help to ensure good returns to their members and also raise the country’s standing on the world coffee market.

“Farmers want to get involved directly with their markets where they can select customers they can profitably serve,” she said.

“Our desire is to promote, organise and undertake the marketing of coffee in the local and export markets in order to maximize returns to the members,” the CEO said adding that KCCE officials had been going round the country recruiting members.

Small scale farmers have in the past been unable to directly market their coffee due to limited market knowledge and a lack of a platform to transact with roasters and other buyers globally.

“Due to the low returns from their coffee they have seen little reason to invest in higher quality of production leading to a vicious cycle of declining earnings and lower yield per hectare,” Ms Murumba.

However she expressed confidence that the entry of the Kenya Cooperative Coffee Exporters would lead to increased prices for farmers; higher productions, better quality coffee and higher foreign exchange earnings for the country.

The overseas markets have received the entrance of KCCE into the market well; she said adding that the buyers were happy to work directly with the farmers who would also be the main beneficiaries.

Ms Murumba said that last week, KCCE started receiving coffee and has paid Sh20 per kilo in advance which amounted to Sh692,000 to Mugama Cooperative Union, Murang’a.

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The company expects to start receiving more coffee from this week.

“To-date, the company has signed contracts with coffee farmers amounting to 20,000 metric tons. The figure is expected to rise as more farmers continue signing our marketing agreements,” she disclosed.

KCCE is supported by Co-operative Bank of Kenya whose majority shareholders are the Co-operative societies and their Unions.

The Bank has pledged to support KCCE with seed money to ensure that the farmers are paid promptly as the organisation works towards securing better markets for their coffee.

This will ensure that the farmers are financially empowered thus avoiding any disruption in production.

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