Coffee farmers lose millions in Kiambu theft

Monday, January 11th, 2021 00:00 |
Coffee farming. Photo/Courtesy

Coffee farmers from Gitwe Farmers’ Co-operative Society Limited in Gatundu South, Kiambu County are counting losses after their produce worth millions of shillings was stolen over the weekend.

Approximately 100 bags of parchment coffee whose worth is estimated to be between Sh2-3 million is said to have been removed from the factory’s stores.

The farmers led by Gatiba Gitau regretted that the theft happened despite a high presence of security guards and sniffer dogs that have been manning the premises day and night.

They decried that even as the government moves to streamline the sector to increase returns for poor coffee farmers, robbers are not sleeping seeking the best means of reaping where they did not sow.

Gitau said that most farmers have returned back to grow the higher income earner for the nation but could lose hope if theft of their produce is not arrested.

Speaking at the society’s head office at Ituuru village, Gitau said they were eagerly waiting for proceeds from the produce and theft is a major setback for them. 

Zero returns

His sentiments were echoed by Hannah Wanjiku Mugo, a coffee farmer who said that despite their efforts, the produce has continued to give them zero returns courtesy of theft, poor pay among other factors.

Wanjiku said that they were sound asleep when the thieves broke into their warehouse and made away with tens of bags.

The farmers regretted that the escalating robbery is not only threatening their livelihoods but also international brands that may be re-selling stolen coffee without knowing.

“We have remained to be beggars despite our hard work. It’s sad that as the government alleviates other challenges in the sector, thieves return without fear to make us poorer,” regretted Wanjiku.

According to Gatundu South Sub County Police commander Sylvester Githungo, the robbers cut the society premises fence, tied up the two security guards on duty and escaped with the 50kgs weighing 100 bags of coffee beans.

He said that he had prior the coffee harvests advised factory managers to install CCTV cameras, sniffer dogs, enough security guards and fence their warehouses to avert burglary incidents.

While assuring that detectives have launched investigations into the incident that was reported late, Githungo urged locals to volunteer information regarding the criminal activity to help them bring the culprits to book.

“No crime is done without notice at least by one member of the public and that is why I am urging locals to work with us to unravel the theft mystery,” he said.

Already, Githungo revealed that police have started grilling the society managers to get to the bottom of the break-in.

Githungo who spoke from his office told journalists that they had beefed security in the area assuring that going forwards, all coffee factories in the area will be guarded by both security guards and police.

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