Sh2b coffee fund almost ready, says CS Munya
Trade, Industrialisation and Cooperative Development Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has said the long-awaited Sh2 billion Coffee Cherry Advance Fund will be ready by end of January, next year.
The CS said preparation of the cherry fund took time to ensure when it is finally released, payment will go directly to individual farmers.
He said by the end of January, farmers will start receiving the money, which will be credited directly to their accounts and will be recovered after they sell their produce.
Munya, however, said the challenges facing coffee farmers did not start with the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as president or his predecessor Mwai Kibaki but have been there since time immemorial.
“We are developing a strategy which in the long run will deal with the challenges facing our coffee farmers today,” he said
Speaking when he visited Sagana Kenya Planters Co-operative Union (KPCU) stores in Kirinyaga, yesterday, Munya said in the strategy, the government will have its part to fulfill, with the farmers also expected to be involved and fulfill their part.
He said, for instance, the cherry fund will enable the farmer to carry out his farm activities and wait for the eventual sale of his coffee.
“The aim of the cherry crop advance is to ensure the farmer is able to buy the required inputs and pay for the labour without any stress.
Further, the farmer will be able to repay the funds with ease after the actual proceeds from his crop are released,” he said.
“Some people were pushing for a hurried activation of the fund to give them an opportunity to dip their hands into the farmer’s money as they have done in the past.”
“We have said this is not going to happen again, every farmer will be issued with a card to enable them access the money,” he said
Munya said the government is looking for more coffee markets to eliminate middle men, who for a long time have been taking advantage of the farmers.
“How come all the time we are told the world coffee market is low? I was in Nebraska recently and a kilo of coffee was selling at Sh400. Why do the farmers get only Sh20?”
The CS said county governments should also take up farmers’ challenges and complement what the National government was doing as they also have their allocation to solve some of the problems facing coffee farmers in their localities. — KNA