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Coffee farmers to reap big from global forum

Local coffee farmers will be exposed to more lucrative opportunities as well as ink deals with leading global buyers expected to gather in the country early next year. International Coffee Organisation (ICO) Director General Jose Sette said farmers would meet dealers from other exporting and importing countries during the March conference.

He said based on the fact that other global coffee actors will be the country for one week during the 123rd session of International Coffee Organisation Council (ICO) meeting is a big plus to local farmers and equally enhance the visibility of the local beans. 

“Equally, producers will have opportunity to share experiences with other countries and benefit from ideas on how to deal with challenges facing the sub-sector,” he said. Sette made the remarks while addressing stakeholders during a “Coffee Power Breakfast Talk” organised by Kenya Coffee Platform at a Nairobi hotel yesterday. 

The ICO boss arrived in the country on Tuesday to assess Kenya’s preparedness for the global conference. The meeting to be held from March 25 to 29 in Nairobi was originally set to be held from  April 8 to 12.

Cabinet granted approval for Kenya to host the forum during a meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, on Tuesday.

An inter-ministerial committee has been formed to spearhead the preparations. It comprises Principal Secretaries of Agriculture, Transport, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Cooperatives and Chairman of the coffee sub-sector implementation committee. International Coffee Organisation set up in 1963 is the main inter-governmental organisation for coffee which brings together coffee producing and consuming countries to discuss coffee issues. The council is the organisation’s governing body.

World Market

The meeting will provide an opportunity for member countries to discuss wide ranging issues in the sub-sector as well as create an opportunity to market Kenyan coffee. While Kenya may currently be grappling with low coffee production, Sette observed during the discussion, her coffee beans still stand out as the best in the world market.

“Despite producing less volume, Kenya coffee is highly sought after and equally fetches the highest prices in the world market. I urge Kenya coffee stakeholders to work together with a view to increasing output for the benefit of the small-scale farmers,” he said.

Data from Nairobi Coffee Exchange indicates that during the 2016/17 year, average price improved by 20.34 per centage point to stand at $233.50 (Sh23,350) compared with $194.04 (Sh19,404) per 50 kg in 2015/16. 

Kenya Arabica coffee is classified as Colombia mild’ type that is known for its intense flavour, full body, and pleasant aroma with notes of cocoa and high grade favoured by acidic soil of the highlands of Central Kenya and other plateaus.

Coffee sub-sector Implementation Committee Chairman Joseph Kieyah said government’s new focus is to expand local market and shield farmers from global shocks.

He said there is need for local investors to take advantage of the sub-sector and invest in value addition in a bid to increase local consumption of coffee. Enhancing value addition, he said if well exploited will create more opportunities.

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