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Kenya, Colombia in advanced talks on coffee cooperation 

Kenya is hosting a high-profile delegation from Colombia for advanced talks on cooperation in Coffee farming and trade as the two nations look to strengthen ties to boost the local subsector.
The Colombian delegation is in the country for five days and in addition to the talks, will visit factories and farms to familiarise with the Kenyan coffee industry.
The meeting is a follow-up to Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s visit to Colombia last September where he pushed for advanced cooperation between the two nations to realise better yields for Kenyan coffee farmers.
Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Cooperatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Development, Simon Chelugui and Colombian Ambassador to Kenya Mr Pedro Leon Rui, welcomed the discussions saying they would boost the ties already nurtured by the two nations.
Addressing the delegation on Monday at Emara Ole Sereni Hotel Nairobi, Mr Chelugui said the government is focused on empowering smallholder coffee farmers since the crop plays a key role in enhancing the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Kenya.
 “The Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) envisions a productive coffee subsector hence committed to increase coffee production from the current annual production from 51,000 metric tonnes to 200,000 metric tons by year 2027,” said Mr Chelugui.
He reminisced that in the 1980s, coffee was the leading foreign exchange earner for Kenya. The production, he said, deteriorated from a peak of 130,000 tonnes in 1983/1984 to a low of 34,000 tonnes in 2020.
“Over 70 percent of coffee production in our country is carried out by the smallholders, who are organised into cooperatives,” said CS Chelugui.
Ambassador Leon Rui explained that the members of Colombia National Federation of Coffee Growers, are on a five-day visit and they will have a peer-to-peer session with Kenyan farmers.
“This is an important milestone in cementing the relationship between Kenya and Colombia. We have been working together and our ties with Africa is a priority. Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives and Enterprise Simon Chelugui visited Colombia last year,” he said.
“Connection with Colombia is because we have a lot of potential to work together and learn. Coffee is our treasure; the collaboration is part of other common goals we are building in Kenya”.
On Monday afternoon, the delegation toured the New Kenya Planters Coffee Union, Dandora Branch, where they were taken through the process of milling, coffee cupping and cataloguing.
They will also visit coffee cooperative factories, farms, Coffee Research Institute and Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO).
 Mr Carlos Armando Uribe, Director Asuntos Gremiales company based in Colombia, said one channel to increase production in Kenya is for the local farmers to increase the number of trees per hectare.
“Commitment is also needed and transparency and Government support. Look for new markets like China, India and UAE,” he advised.
The businessman added, “enhance participation of growers in changing the subsector through public elections of the sectoral leaders and Coffee democracy.
“We are a coffee producing family. For our colleagues in Kenya, we can move together. The iIntention is for all of us to get better, and our families get better economically,” he stated.
The trader added that the two countries are looking to partner, collaborate and share
ideas to boost the global trade of coffee.
The Chief of Staff at the Office of the Deputy President, Ms Wanjiku Wakogi, welcomed the advancement of the talks between the two countries, saying the coffee sub-sector is a strong cornerstone of Kenya’s economic development.
“We are embarking on this wonderful chapter of cooperation between Kenya and Colombia, focused on our coffee value chains. This collaboration is not just a diplomatic gesture; it signifies a strategic partnership aimed at leveraging each other’s strengths for the mutual benefit of our coffee industries,” said Ms Wakogi.
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