Murang’a county government has embarked in an ambitious programme aimed at reviving coffee sector.
Targeting 120,000 small scale farmers, the programme will be facilitated to enable them rehabilitate abandoned coffee trees neglected 15 years ago.
Christened Kahawa Bora, an initiative by Governor Mwangi wa Iria aims at supplying farmers with manure among other inputs recommended by experts.
The government has started giving out organic manure to farmers aiming to increase coffee production to 50 million kilos in two years’ time.
Currently farmers in the county are producing at most 24 million kilos due poor management of the cash crop forcing hundreds of the farmers to abandon coffee.
County government to realise the objective has organised the farmers in working groups of 100 where they are trained on coffee husbandry.
Murang’a region has recorded decline in production in the past 15 years following mismanagement of the coffee cooperatives.
According to records, Murang’a in the 1980’s was rated among the highest producers of the commodity with 120 million kilogrammes.Each of registered farmers is expected to get 200 kilos of manure which is being distributed at coffee factories.
In the programme, the county government is rehabilitating 50 bushes from each farmer as a showcase with expectation that farmers will learn from the rehabilitated bushes.
It is regrettable that majority of our coffee trees produce an average of between 1.5 kg and 2.5 kg annually. My campaign is meant to increase production to more than 10 kilogramme, said the governor.
Iria said with production of quality cherries, the county government will link farmers with local and international markets without passing through middlemen.
In the long run Murang’a will be producing organic coffee which has better market in the international market, said the governor.
Murang’a County realised major developments with billions of shillings earned from coffee between 1970s and 1980s that lead to educating of children and construction of many permanent homes.
County Executive Member of Cooperatives Mr. Edward Muiruri said management committees of the cooperative societies have been educated on management practices to ensure effective safeguarding of members’ resources.
There have been a lot of capacity building forums to ensure Murang’a leads in protection of farmers’ money unlike past year where there were chaos in the cooperative sector, said Muiruri.
Source: Kenya News Agency