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Uhuru forms task force on coffee industry

President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed a task force to investigate the state of the coffee industry and identify areas that need reform to improve farmers’ earning.

The task force has 20 days to complete its mandate, although the term may be extended at the President’s discretion.

Its secretariat will be at the Cabinet Affairs Office, which falls under The Presidency.

The National Task Force on Coffee Sub-sector Reform will undertake consultations with coffee stakeholders in the country, according to a Gazette notice published Friday.

Two presidential advisors, Dann Mwangi (Director of Political Affairs) and Morris Kaburu (Director, Legal Affairs) will be joint secretaries.

Prof Joe Keiyah, an American-trained lawyer and economist, will co-chair the task force with Agriculture Principal secretary Richard Lesiyampe. Kieya is currently a senior policy analyst and head of private sector development division at the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis.

Other members of the task force include Kevin Ashley—a co-founder of Nairobi’s famous coffee restaurant chain, Java Coffee House—and World Bank agricultural advisor Dr Andrew Karanja.

Also included in the team are Robin Achoki, who was running mate to Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu in the Nairobi gubernatorial race in 2013, and Githuku Mwangi, a coffee industry researcher who also runs Gultiyo Ltd, a coffee fair trade consultancy.

The task force also draws membership from coffee cooperatives and millers across the countries.

Uhuru wants the task force to recommend a coffee value chain that substantially increases the farmers’ incomes and provide sufficient financial support for production and training. The value chain that the task force will recommend must also ensure best processing and marketing practices to optimise returns based on transparency, fair trade and constitutional property rights.

It will also develop a prioritised implementation matrix clearly stating the immediate, medium and long-term coffee sector reforms and the resultant budgetary requirements.

 

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