State speeds up revitalization of coffee sector – Kenya News Agency

The government has taken several initiatives to address the decline in coffee production in the country.

Over the past year, the Coffee Research Institute (CRI) has identified 92 Technologies, Innovations and Management Practices (TIMPS) in the coffee value chain, of which at least 62 intervention measures are ready to be implemented. be promoted.

The move comes after the sector recorded a decline in production to 34,000 tonnes from a peak of 128,000 tonnes in 1988 with coffee revenues falling to Kshs 5 million from Kshs 250 million during from previous seasons.

Launching a major coffee improvement initiative which will see a turnaround strategy recommended by a task force, the government in 2017 formulated the Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organization (KALRO) to promote new technologies to boost productivity from the current average of 2 kg per tree. to the 10 kg provided per tree.

KALRO, Managing Director, Dr Eliud Kireger, said a Coffee Revitalization Program (CRP) is in place to accelerate technology adoption and achieve quick wins to boost the industry.

Speaking at a sensitization seminar on Technologies, Innovations and Practices in Coffee Management (TIMP), the DG noted that with a total production of 40,000 tonnes now from a 2kg tree, reaching 10 kg per tree would increase coffee production to 200,000 tonnes, setting a new record without increasing the area under coffee.

The DG said that Brazil, the world’s leading producer of Arabica coffee, plans to produce 35.7 million bags in the next 12 months from July 2022, compared to 48.7 million bags 2 years ago in due to climatic conditions.

This move, he explained, comes at a good time when there is a predicted shortage of coffee and a potentially high price and Kenya should therefore take advantage of global opportunities to benefit Kenyan farmers.

Eng. David Njogu, from the Ministry of Agriculture and co-ordinator of coffee revitalization in the country, acknowledged that during the peak of coffee production in the country in 1988, he exported around 120,000 metric tons of green coffee, but he 5 years ago production had fallen to 35,000 metric tons.

He explained that they were working on strengthening the governance management capacity of cooperative societies since most of the small coffee farmers in the country account for 70% of exports and at the same time they are using modern technology to reorganize most of the coffee processing plants. long abandoned factories.

As part of the revitalization program, Eng. Njogu said they succeeded in bringing the players together and a co-op bill was drafted and sent to the twelfth parliament.

Dr. Elijah Gichuru, Institute Director, at CRI Ruiru, explaining some of the technologies they use to improve coffee production.

Unfortunately, he added that the bill did not gain presidential emphasis until the end of the 12e parliament but is optimistic that the incoming thirteenth parliament once opened will prioritize the coffee agenda.

He pointed out that through the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP), governments are focusing on 8 coffee producing counties namely Kiambu, Machakos, Nyeri, Muranga, Kirinyaga, Embu, Meru and Tharaka Nithi.

“We have already, through this project, carried out soil analysis to solve the problem of soil fertility, formulated a specific coffee fertilizer for the regions and we are discussing the formulation with the manufacturing plants in the country to be able to produce fertilizer for blended coffee in Kenya, for Kenyan coffee and this fertilizer application was a game changer,” he said

Some factories such as Kibugu Farmers Society in Embu and Baragwi Farmers Society in Kirinyaga, he said, have applied the fertilizer and seen huge yields proving that it works,” Eng. Njogu said

Currently, Eng. Njogu said as they roll out more than 62 technologies, they are organizing with counties to develop a framework for delivering the technologies to farmers in the most efficient way before November as farmers prepare their crops for the next season.

“Digitalization is being embraced in the industry from coffee weighing, communication and ledgers including storage, and it has helped and benefited over 40 companies from production to point of sale. payment”, Eng. said Njogu.

Dr. Elijah Gichuru, director of the institute, at CRI in Ruiru, “We have a program to revitalize coffee and the main thing is to increase production at the production level, the quality at the exit from the point of view farmers and the primary processing that is under the cooperatives”.

When it comes to technology, Dr Gichuru said they are incorporating new coffee processing methods like sun-drying, using solar energy other than electricity and fossil fuels, envisioning the expansion of coffee areas as going west of the Rift Valley in order to increase the loss of land under coffee

“The revitalization program through KCSAP will continue for the next three weeks and will begin this Monday, 5e we will train farmers in the 8 counties on new technologies to improve this sector,” he added

In the last year of production, Dr. Gichuru said they were able to produce adequate seed and from about 9 million seedlings, they distributed about 800,000 seedlings to farmers.

“We have just had one harvest season which is May, June and July and we expect the next to pick up in October through January. This is the time to put the seedlings on the ground which will be replanted at the earliest in November when the light rains begin and then we will also have seeds that the farmers can put on the ground in their nurseries and which they will replant in April the next year,” said the director of the Institute.

Their goal, Dr Gichuru said, is to supply at least 4 tons of seed per year which will give farmers no less than 12 million seedlings per year and if this level is maintained, the next three to five years they will have served the current demand and the demand for the will most likely go down.

According to the government, improving coffee production is essential given that it is estimated that more than 700,000 families in the country derive their livelihood directly from coffee.

By Wangari Ndirangu

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