Coffee farmers differ on taskforce proposals

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Coffee farmers are divided over proposals made by the national coffee taskforce to transform the sector, after another group yesterday supported the recommendations.

Small-holder coffee farmers want recommendations made by the President appointed taskforce implemented, accusing cartels of trying to delay the process.

The farmers want the recently gazetted recommendations fully implemented, denying they are opposed to them as alleged by a separate group of farmers last month.

A lobby group called New National Farmers’ Association had claimed the taskforce did not seek views of most farmers during the compilation of its report, adding that 80 per cent of

the recommendations given were not helpful to the sector.

The small-holder farmers drawn from 12 co-operative unions were attending a meeting in Naivasha yesterday.

They accused the Council of Governors of working with a powerful cartel to stop the recommendations.

In the two-day workshop which kicked off yesterday, representatives of the unions drawn from all coffee growing counties said they had been consulted by the taskforce, and fully

support the recommendations.

Last month, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the government has adopted the recommendations but the CoG had opposed them.

Machakos Co-operative Union chairman Patrick Katingima said the farmers will lose out on debt waivers, subsidies on fertiliser and farm inputs, and the price stabilisation fund if implementation is delayed further.

“The action by the Council of Governors is sabotage to small-holders’ expectations to grow and market their own produce,” he said.

Katingima appealed to the CoG to rethink its stand.

“We were consulted by the taskforce after we petitioned the President, and the governors must know that their action will negatively affect the livelihoods of many people,” he said.

Meru County Farmer’s Co-operative Union chairman Ephantus Majau said the governors’ move will lock out small-holder farmers from the coffee auction.

He said the proposal to scrap debts and research levies is a big boost to farmers.

“The taskforce had abolished the Sh1 billion requirement for any farmer to enter the coffee auction, but the governors have blocked it.”

 

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