Coffee farmers in Meru will from April receive their money within 30 days after delivering their beans to societies and other buyers.
Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi made the announcement at the coffee stakeholder’s consultative forum on piloting the Ethiopian coffee industry cash model in the county.
In Ethiopia, farmers get cash on delivery.
The governor, who toured Ethiopia — a leading coffee producer in the world — last year to learn more about the method, urged farmers to embrace, resolve, adopt and support the initiative as part of his “Making Meru County Great” campaign slogan.
“We are using the pilot project from Ethiopia because the country is the top producer of the commodity in Africa, producing 700,000 metric tonnes annually, compared to Kenya, which does 40,000 metric tonnes over the same period,” said Mr Murungi.
He urged farmers to incorporate macadamia as a shade tree for coffee since it’s also a source of income through nut sales.
Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) interim Director-General Alfred Busolo, who represented Mr Richard Lesiyampe, the chief guest, said the main challenge cited in the coffee industry was long delays in payments with farmers having to wait for six to eight months.
“This has discouraged investments and reduced participation of the youth in coffee farming business,” said Mr Busolo.
“The national and county governments are keen to partner so as to explore modalities for ensuring prompt payments to farmers.”
Mr Busolo said coffee production in Meru stands at 12 million kilogrammes of cherry against potential of about 36 million kilogrammes. He attributed the decline to high cost of production, fluctuating global market prices, adverse effects of climate change, poor corporate governance at growers’ societies and ageing coffee farmers.
He said about 800,000 small-scale farmers and 4,000 medium- and large estates have invested in coffee production in Kenya with a total acreage of 114,500 hectares.