Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua says reforms in the coffee sub-sector are on course and has asked farmers to be patient as the Government works on policies to push out cartels that have been profiting from their hard work and sweat.
Speaking on Sunday in Othaya, Nyeri County, Mr Gachagua said the Government will not relent on the reforms, indicating a key cartel composed of four individuals is deeply entrenched in the subsector and that it is even attempting to sabotage the Government’s plan by creating an artificial crisis in the coffee industry.
He spoke at Kagere PCEA Church where he attended Sunday Service and fundraiser for the institution.
The Deputy President added that proposed amendments to various laws that regulate coffee business will be tabled in Parliament soon.
“The cartels are entrenched and they are few. They buy coffee at throw away prices and sell in foreign countries at exorbitant prices. The changes are on course. Amendment of the law will be tabled in Parliament soon. It proposes, among others, that if you are a coffee miller, you cannot be a marketer or a seller. It is one man, one job,” said the Deputy President.
He asked Members of Parliament to support the amendment in order to uplift farmers.
One of the reforms being fought by the cartel, he said, is the revival of the New KPCU and the Coffee Board of Kenya.
Mr Gachagua added that the cartels are engineering an artificial crisis in the sub-sector as method to fight back the reforms.
“They (cartels) have united and are trying to create an artificial crisis and propaganda that because of the reforms, the Kenyan coffee has been boycotted, which is a lie. They are moving across various offices. I urge the farmers to be patient because it is not an easy or simple fight. It is not for the faint hearted. battle that is not simple and not for the faint hearted. It is rough. They are boycotting the coffee to sabotage the reforms,” he explained.
On tea, the Deputy President assured the farmers that the sub-sector was not badly off since the annual advance payments (bonus) to smallholder farmers has increased this year.
Various tea factories across that are managed by Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) last week declared higher bonus payments compared to previous years.
Regarding milk, Mr Gachagua said the Government is working on measures that will increase the farm-gate price of the commodity to Ksh 60 per litre.
“The reforms that I was tasked to push by President William Ruto in coffee, tea and milk, have started to bear fruit. We got a high bonus this year, which has not been witnessed earlier. We are doing well. For milk, we are not badly off as well. The Government will push the farm gate price to a minimum of Ksh 60 per litre,” he said.
On politics, the Deputy President said there are no differences in the leadership of the Mt Kenya region in Kenya Kwanza.
He told critics to stop creating falsehoods on relationship of the leaders and imaginary cracks.
“We have no structural cracks or differences as a community. The driving force of the Mt Kenya region is unity and hard work. The region will remain united behind President William Ruto,” said Mr Gachagua.
He continued: We decided to support President Ruto voluntarily. We made a conscious and informed decision. We have responsibility as a region to support the President for ten years so that he can deliver on what he promised .
Regarding the country’s economic status, the Deputy President said the economy is recovering and that the measures instituted by the President are bearing fruit.
“There are challenges but the President is doing well so far. We inherited a bad economy but due to his pragmatic leadership, economy is showing signs of recovery. The first sign was disbursement of money to county governments on time this year. Initially there were debts owed to counties. Let us pray for him and support him,” said Mr Gachagua.
He urged the residents to continue supporting the government.
He was accompanied by a host of leaders including Governors Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri) and Susan Kihika (Nakuru), Senators Wahome Wamatinga (Nyeri) and Veronica Maina (Nominated), Nyeri Woman Representative Mukami Wachira, area MP Wambugu Wainaina, Nyeri county assembly speaker Gichuhi Mwangi and Energy Principal Secretary Alex Wachira.
Also present was a host of MPs including Taita Taveta Woman Representative Lydia Haika, Njoroge Wainaina (Kieni), Eric Wamumbi (Mathira), Maina Mathenge (Nyeri Town), Geoffrey Wandeto (Tetu), Shadrack Mwiti (South Imenti), Oesmus Ngogoyo (Kajiado North), Martha Wangari (Gilgil), Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East), Mathias Robi (Kuria West), Kamande Mwafrika (Roysambu) and Jackson Kosgei (Nominated).
The leaders praised the Deputy President’s leadership and his decision to eradicate alcoholism and drug abuse.
“You are the Mt Kenya kingpin and we have declared so. Fight against alcoholism is ongoing and we are behind you. As a region we must walk with President Ruto through Mr Gachagua,” said Nyeri Governor, Mutahi Kahiga.
Nyeri Woman Representative, Mukami Wachira, asked the government to support coffee cooperatives that are financially strained.
“We urge that the same way government is dedicating support towards revival of sugar factories, it should also consider offering financial support to coffee cooperatives,” said Ms Wachira.