Coffee sales fall 23 per cent in Q3 even as State pumps in billions

Coffee sales fell by 23 per cent in the first nine months of the year despite reforms in the sector aimed at raising production.

Statistics released by the Kenya National Bureau of statistics (KNBS) indicate volumes dropped from 3,424 tonnes in the first nine months of 2014 to 2,634 tonnes in the same period this year.

The lower volumes saw the value of the produce sold at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange dip 18 per cent to Sh14.5 billion in the crop year ending September, from Sh17 billion in the year 20132014.

The average price of the beverage also remained low in the period, with a kilogramme selling at S63 from Sh404 in September last year.

The government set aside a Sh5 billion Commodity Fund this year to issue cheap credit to coffee farmers in its latest bid to revive the once-vibrant sector and increase production from 50,000 tonnes to 150,000 tonnes.

READ: Commodities fund plans wider lending to farmers

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, coffee production has in recent years dropped from 10 kilogrammes per bush to two kilogrammes. The government has established an integrated coffee production programme which will see the crop grown in 21 counties which do not grow it in a bid to boost sales.

The ministry is working closely with county governments through providing enough and high quality seeds as well as ensuring there are enough extension officers to teach farmers crop husbandry.

Coffee production has been declining over the years to the current 50,000 tonnes from a record high of 130,000 tonnes in the 1980s.