Coffee payment in Kenya: Coffee farmers in Murang’a have received the lowest pay in over five years. The farmers got an average of Sh. 27 a kilo for the 2017/18 cherry deliveries, which ranks as the lowest rate since 2013/14 season.
The farmers first received an advance pay of Sh. 10 per kilo in August before getting Sh. 17 as the final pay starting December.
This has aggravated the situation, with more farmers vowing to quit coffee farming.
“It is our understanding that the rates at the auction never went below Sh. 189 … farmers should not receive less than 80 percent of gross market sales. No farmer was supposed to receive less than Sh100 even with overheads’ deductions at the factory level. This is a tragedy,” says Simon Njoroge, who chairs lower Kigumo Coffee Growers Association.
But area coffee development officer, Paul Mutua said production suffered due to erratic weather, coffee diseases and reduced volumes.
“Coffee earns exclusively on market quality. The prices at the auctions are no lead on how factories will earn. It is about the volumes you produce as a region and its quality,” he said.
He said in 2013/2014, gross payout to farmers per kilo was Sh. 42, which improved to Sh. 55 in 2014/2015. While in 2015/16 deliveries, the average price was Sh. 45.
Despite coffee being a lucrative earner in Kenya, coffee farmers have largely remained poor as brokers and processors take all the profit.
This has in turn caused many farmers to abandon the crop in favour of more highly productive crops.