Kirinyaga Governor, Anne Waiguru, is spearheading talks between top leadership of all the 15 coffee cooperatives from in her county and an international firm that has declared interest in buying their produce.
The talks, if successful, will see Kirinyaga coffee farmers eventually negotiate and market their coffee for guaranteed returns.
The meeting which was also attended by the county’s trade and cooperatives department and representatives from Kirinyaga Investment Development Authority (KIDA) focused on a proposed strategy to ensure Kirinyaga farmers get best prices for their coffee.
The India-based company deals in agricultural exports and is expected to start buying Kirinyaga coffee as soon as the deal is inked.
Speaking at the meeting held on Monday at Kutus, Governor Waiguru said she is pushing for contract that spans over 10 years.
She said that even though the farmers are currently bound by the contract signed between them and their appointed agencies, they will be able to negotiate for minimum guaranteed price starting next in the financial year.
“The negotiations are deemed to be the light at the end of a dark tunnel in which farmers have been getting a miserable Sh56 per kilo, or thereabout, on average despite coffee being an expensive commodity the world over,” she said.
Ms Waiguru said that her county produces enough coffee to meet the firm’s minimum purchase quantity.
The coffee cooperative societies’ leaders lauded the governor for her efforts in revamping the sector, pledging their support for her vision of liberating farmers.
The county’s coffee sector is dominated by smallholder farmers numbering to around 88,024 who cultivate the crop on 19,898 hectares.
There are about 12 million coffee trees that yield around 34,976 tons per year.
Kirinyaga County prides itself as one of the world’s finest specialty coffee producers with Kabare and Baragwi Cooperatives being ranked 4th and 25th respectively in the 2018 Coffee Review Report.
The county, that is also the second largest coffee producer in Kenya after Kiambu County, has won various national and global awards for high quality, handpicked, sun dried coffee.