Photos of coffee farmers in Nyeri uprooting their plants for alternatives have been shared online, showing the sorry state of coffee farming in Kenya.
Early this year, a local daily reported that coffee factories in Mt Kenya region are closing down in what could deal a blow to the industry that employs thousands and earns the country billions in foreign exchange.
Growing debt, mismanagement, low prices and coffee hawking are some of the factors that have led to the closure of the factories, which are a key cog in the sector.
More than 10 factories have either collapsed or are on the verge of closing down in the region.
The debt-ridden Mathira North Coffee Farmer’s cooperative society in Mathira, Nyeri County, is on its death bed, threatening the livelihoods of thousands of peasant farmers.
Three of its factories have closed down following a mass pullout of farmers, who have cited mismanagement and poor payment, while others have abandoned coffee farming altogether, according to Daily Nation.
Early this year, reports indicated that Kenya’s earnings from coffee dropped by Ksh1.3 billion in the six months to March compared with a similar previous period.
Farmers have been decrying exploitation of middlemen and lack of government support in farming and exporting of the commodity.
Due to that, Kenyan farmers are shying off from the economic activity. Last year, the volume of coffee offered for sale at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) auction was lower at 31 million kg as at August, down from 35 million sold over a similar window last year.
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