Small-scale farmers demand amendment of two coffee bills – Kenya News Agency
Small farmers have called for the amendment of two coffee bills that are currently in parliament.
Producers from the Kenya Coffee Growers Association (KCPA) said the two bills, namely the National Assembly Coffee Bill 2021 and the Senate Coffee Bill 2020 , should be harmonized.
Speaking to the press in Nairobi, KCPA chairman Peter Gikonyo said that apart from the two bills accelerated by two different entities, if they are not harmonized, long-term wars for supremacy will intensify and frustrate President Uhuru Kenyatta’s reform agenda in the sub-sector as well.
The Senate is speeding up the implementation of the Coffee Bill 2020 and the National Assembly is processing the Coffee Bill 2021 and, according to the KCPA, the proposed coffee legislation needs to be revised to incorporate more issues, especially those concerning farmers.
âThere are flaws in the bills which, if not corrected, could further disrupt the industry. Both bills were read for the first time in the respective chambers and currently the agriculture committee of each chamber receives the opinions of members of the public to inform them before second reading. We have expressed our concerns to the Senate and the National Assembly and urge them to address them for the general welfare of small farmers and the national economy as a whole, âsaid Gikonyo.
Problems that farmers have with the bills include the representation of farmers in key institutions, namely the Coffee Board of Kenya (CBK) and the Coffee Research Foundation (CRI), as well as promoting the split of cooperative societies. and the elimination of cooperative societies.
Other tricky issues include unrealistic operational costs for cooperative societies, payments of coffee receipts (direct settlement system) and the double registration of millers as marketing agents and the lack of a robust procedure for nominating managers. millers.
KCPA Managing Director Sarah Nyaga called for the revision of the two bills and the development of a bill that will facilitate farmers to play their key role in the coffee growing business by keeping to the mind that they were the primary owner of the cafe.
âThe farmer must be respected, valued and consulted on all matters, from production to market, for the growth and sustainability of the coffee industry. Develop and implement a specific policy on coffee production to save the industry from collapse, âNyaga said.
Both bills propose that farmer representatives in these key farm organizations be appointed by the government.
The bills also propose that a percentage of the value of the Nairobi Coffee Exchange for coffee sold be applied to the operations of the Coffee Council and the Coffee Research Institute, while the sampling fee will be part of the income from the Nairobi Coffee Exchange.
The coffee sub-sector in Kenya is an important source of trade providing around US $ 230 million per year and a source of income for over 800,000 smallholder coffee producers.
The sub-sector is also central to the central role of agriculture in contributing to and achieving Kenya Vision 2030 and the government’s Big Four agenda.
Coffee auction prices for the 2020/2021 crop have seen a steady increase throughout the auction period, with the auction price increasing in January of this year to $ 6.34 per kg, from $ 5.98 per kg in December 2020.
According to KCPA, currently the majority of farmers are happy with good coffee prices amid the challenges faced by the industry after the COVID 19 outbreak. So far, most of the cooperatives, especially in Kirinyaga counties and Kericho, were able to pay more than Sh100 per kg of cherry.
By Wangari Ndirangu