Murang’a Coffee Farmers’ Welcome Government Move To Revive Coffee Sector

Coffee farmers from Murang’a County have welcomed the measures initiated by the government to revive the ailing coffee subsector.

The farmers say coffee farming was the economic backbone of many farmers in the region before it crumbled living many as paupers who could not manage to put food on the table and educate their children besides meeting their daily basic needs.

Speaking at Ichagaki, Maragua constituency during a NGAAF projects Economic Empowerment forum organized by Murang’a County Woman Representative Betty Maina, the farmers noted that with the government’s assurance, they were ready to return coffee in their farms.

‘We uprooted our coffee because the conditions were unbearable but now we are more than willing to plant coffee again’ says Joseph Kamande, one of the farmers.

‘We are banking on the government to fulfill its promises that includes streamlining the cooperative movement and finding new markets for the cherry’ he added.

These sentiments come a day after the Deputy President Rigathi
Gachagua while speaking in Maragua said that the government would waive all the debts advanced to the farmers through their respective cooperative societies but they have been unable to pay.

The promise was made while commissioning the multimillion Murang’a coffee mills that is owned by Murang’a coffee union at Ikundu village, Maragua.

Another farmer, James Kimani noted that as farmers, they were willing to go back to their farms to grow coffee and urged the government not to renege on its promises to revamp coffee farming.

‘I uprooted my coffee plants years ago for bananas but with the governments promise I am ready to grow coffee again,’ he said.

Oh her part, Murang’a County Woman Representative Betty Maina noted that waiving of the debts and exploring new markets was a welcome move but more needed to be done to make the once productive crop vibrant in the region.

‘Farmers must be encouraged to plant new coffee varieties that will yield more return on investment and that will translate into more profit
s,’ she said.

‘As leaders, we must encourage farmers to graft their old varieties, even as we plan on supporting them with seedlings of new and improved varieties that will translate into more production,’ she added.

Maina observed that many farmers continued to tend coffee to bushes that were no longer productive and were not resistant to pests and diseases and ended up pumping a lot of farm inputs on the bushes that do not yield much.

Members of the County Assembly from coffee growing regions led by Caroline Njoroge who is also the chair to the Assembly Committee on Agriculture and Livestock termed the revival of coffee farming as the only way to unlock the grinding potential that continues to affect their regions.

‘If coffee farmers are empowered to produce more coffee, they can sustain themselves and stop relying on assistance from the government that includes being given food rations and solely relying on bursaries to educate their children,’ She said

Ng’araria ward MCA Simon Wamwea called on agricu
ltural extension officers who no longer visit their farms following a ministerial policy that they should not be doing so citing that their services were demand driven to rescind their decision and be visiting coffee farmers to give them advice on best coffee farming practices.

‘Agricultural extension officers will play a role in helping the farmers carry out farming practices that will yield more and make the venture more productive’ he noted.

Source: Kenya News Agency