Meru coffee stakeholders are calling on the government to ensure that they fight the cartels in the sector and also come up with a way of value addition to the crop.
This even as the Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is set to hold a three day coffee stakeholders conference in Meru on 6th, 7th and 8th next month.
The government campaign towards coffee reforms has also been called upon to factor in measures on climate change as a key challenge affecting the sector and also factor branding the final product as Kenyan product before selling the same in the international markets.
Meru Central Coffee Union acting CEO Kiogora Mburugu said that it is through research and innovation that high and quality production will be achieved.
He thanked the government for undertaking various measures, among them the issuance of subsidized commodities to boost production and appealed for the program to continue as it will help reduce cost of production.
Kiogora urged the government to also fast track the development and implementation of the 2023 senate coffee bills to the interest of the farmers.
On the other hand, Kiogora noted that coffee farmers are also faced with marketing challenges after production, calling for controlled market prices.
He said the elephant in the room after production is undefined market prices and called on the government to regulate the markets and eliminate cartels that have oppressed farmers over the years adding that farmers need a direct contact with the buyer rather than going through brokers.
The acting CEO added that there is a need for the government to improve the status of 97 coffee factories under the Meru Coffee Union and also the rest in the country by equipping them with modern machines to reduce production expenses.
Kiogora noted that many wet mill factories in Meru County are in dilapidated state thus affecting the quality of the coffee delivered.
Coffee farming through the Meru Coffee union has attracted about 150, 000 farmers from the county, with 30pc comprising youth and women.
The union is also targeting to increase the harvest to 10kgs from the current 4kgs per tree, a move that Kiogora says will be achieved with also the support of agriculture extension officers.
The Meru Coffee Union acting CEO added that as a union they are coming up with a program to sensitize youths on the need to venture into coffee farming, noting that currently majority of the coffee farmers in the county were the aged people and if the trend continues this way, then coffee farming in future will be a thing of the past.