Players in the coffee sector have embarked on a new drive to boost farmers earnings which have been diminished by rising cost of production.
A forum that brought together various stakeholders heard that despite the prevailing good prices of the crop in the global market, Kenyan farmers’ incomes still remain low due to high cost of production, compared to those in other East African countries.
During the forum held in Nairobi, it emerged that the production cost has doubled as farmers now spend about Ksh 80 to Ksh 100 to produce a kilogram of clean coffee up from the standard Ksh 39.
The occasion convened by Dutch organization, the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), aims to find ways of raising farmers “living incomes” in order to discourage them from uprooting the crop and substituting it with residential houses.
According to IDH Chief Executive Officer Daan Wending, there was need to bridge the earnings gap for Kenyan farmers who sell 50pc of their coffee to the European market.
Peter Gikonyo, the Chairman of Kenya Coffee Producers Association, said farmers in the country were hard hit by the current economic crunch which makes the price of inputs beyond the rich of the majority.
Similar sentiments were expressed by George Watene of Kenya Coffee Platform who said as a result of high cost production, the country’s overall production has dropped four-fold compared to the 1980’s and 1990’s.