Coffee farmers accuse governors of working with cartels
Coffee farmers want the recently gazetted recommendations of the national taskforce on coffee reforms fully implemented.
Under the co-operative unions, the small-scale farmers accused the Council of Governors of working with a powerful cartel to stop the recommendations.
This emerged during a two-day workshop for representatives of twelve unions drawn from all coffee growing counties in a Naivasha Hotel.
Addressing the press, the leaders noted that they had been consulted by the task force and were fully behind their recommendations.
Last month, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the government had adapted the recommendations of the taskforce but the Council of Governors had opposed them.
According to the chairman Machakos Co-operative Union Patrick Katingima, the farmers would lose the 4 percent waiver that had been recommended by the taskforce.
Katingima added that the action by the COG would see farmers lose out on debt waivers, subsidies on fertilizer and farm inputs and the price stabilisation fund.
“The action by the council of governors is sabotage to small-scale holder expectations to grow and market their own produce,” he said.
Flanked by chairmen of other co-operatives, Katingima appealed to the COG to rethink its stand so as to pave way for the implementations of the already gazzetted rules.
“We were consulted by the taskforce after we petitioned the president and the governors must learn that their action will negatively affect the livelihoods of many people,” he said.
On his part, the chairman Meru County Farmer’s Co-operative Union Ephatus Majau noted that the move by the governors would see small-scale farmers blocked from the coffee auction.
He said that they were fully behind the recommendations of the taskforce, adding that the move to abolish the loans and research levies was a big boost to farmers.
“The taskforce had abolished the Sh1 billion requirement to any farmer to enter the coffee auction, but the governors have blocked this for reasons better known to them,” he said.
The sentiments were echoed by the Chairman Kipkelion Farmers Co-operative Joseph Koskey who wondered on whose interest the governors were acting.
He said that farmers were grateful to the Head of State for appointing the taskforce and called on the governors to rethink their decision.
“The move by the governors to block the recommendations of the taskforce has created anxiety and confusion in the sector that earns the country billions of shillings,” he said.
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