Tea, coffee auction houses change rules over Corona
Managements of coffee and tea exchanges have reorganised their weekly operations at the Nairobi and Mombasa auction halls to comply with Covid-19 safety measures being implemented by the government.
Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) closed the auction hall on Haile Sellasie Avenue, moving members to an online trading platform.
East African Tea Trade Association, that manages the Mombasa Tea auction, has separated trading by grades by leasing a separate bigger auction hall to trade the main tea grades and retained the original trading hall for lower grades.
The changes come after the Ministry of Health demanded that the exchanges be closed.
Alternatively, managers were asked to look for other ways of conducting the trade in line with the social distancing directive among other safety measures.
NCE Chief executive Daniel Mbithi confirmed that the auction room was closed on March 31 with members moving trade online.
“In order to comply with the safety measures being fast-tracked by the government, NCE managers, buyers and marketing agents are now conducting business online.
The only ongoing activity at the exchange offices is presentation of coffee samples which require less people,” said Mbithi on phone.
Marketing agents are required by law to deposit samples of the coffee they intend to offer for sale 12 days before the auction day.
During sale 18 and 19 average prices reached Sh16, 506.4, and Sh16,911.6 for a 50 kilogramme bag of clean coffee respectively.
Last month, when launching the coffee revitalisation programme being funded by the World Bank, Agriculture Cabinet secretary Peter Munya asked the management of the two exchanges to ensure they comply with the government’s safety measures.