Governor George Natembeya and CS for Cooperatives Simon Chelugui today rallied Trans Nzoia farmers to diversify their crops, urging them to embrace coffee as a path to economic prosperity.
Speaking at the Kitale ASK grounds during the Coffee Cherry Advance Revolving Fund distribution, Governor Natembeya highlighted the global demand for coffee and its attractive prices, a stark contrast to the limitations of maize dependence.
To empower farmers, the county government has implemented a subsidy program for seedlings of diverse crops like coffee, tea, banana, and macadamia. “We want our farmers equipped to explore new avenues for growth,” emphasized Natembeya.
The Trans Nzoia government has also secured land for the county’s first coffee milling plant, partnering with New KPCU.
Governor Natembeya appealed to the National government to assist in the installation process through expert support from the Ministry of Cooperatives.
CS Chelugui echoed the commitment to supporting coffee farmers across Kenya through the Cherry Fund.
He further emphasized the Kenya Kwanza government’s focus on empowering farmers through cooperatives.
“By engaging in the entire coffee value chain, from milling to marketing, cooperatives can break the stranglehold of notorious cartels,” he stated.
In a landmark announcement, Chelugui revealed a new minimum price for coffee in Trans Nzoia: Ksh 80 per kilogram, a significant increase from the previous Ksh 20.
This is not a loan, but an advance payment, emphasizing the government’s commitment to farmer welfare.
“We are taking the risk. If prices fall below Ksh 80, the government will absorb the difference. If they rise, farmers will receive a bonus,” he declared.
Further commitment to the coffee sector came in the form of a Ksh 25 billion investment from the National government.
Phanice Naliaka Khatundi, Trans Nzoia County CEC for Agriculture, outlined the department’s efforts to streamline the management of coffee cooperatives and provide financial guidance.
She also mentioned their collaboration with coffee stakeholders to support farmers with coffee seedling propagation, citing the Muroki Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Society as an example.
The event was attended by other leaders, including PS Cooperative Patrick Kilemi, MCAs, county officials, and representatives from the coffee industry.