NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9 – The government is set to conference a national conference in two weeks to discuss the implementation of reforms in the tea and coffee sub-sectors.
Speaking on Saturday when he visited and engaged coffee farmers in Mathira, his home constituency in Nyeri County where he has retreated to for the Easter holidays, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said the conference will firm up proposed reforms.
He the conference will bring together representatives of farmers from coffee-growing counties, Governors, Cabinet Secretaries for Trade, Agriculture, Cooperatives, lawmakers and members of the Coffee Exchange and Coffee Directorate among other relevant agencies.
“We have embarked on an elaborate strategy bringing the stakeholders together to find out the interventions required in terms of direct marketing of our tea and value addition,” Gachagua said.
“The purpose is to agree on what needs to be done and the MPs and Senators will take it from there and come up with regulations and legislations to cushion farmers from middlemen,” the Deputy President said.
According to the DP, with the revival plans being undertaken by the Kenya Kwanza administration in both of the two sub-sectors, farmers will soon begin to enjoy better returns once the revival initiatives take root.
Gachagua said his visit to the farmers was to get first-hand information on the challenges they were facing.
“We are visiting farmers to understand what ails the sector. There is less production because farmers are less motivated because of poor prices and exploitation by cartels,” he said.
“We must restore the glory of the coffee farmer. Personally, I was educated from proceeds from coffee. In the 1970s and 1980s, this crop had a lot of credibility.”
He had earlier visited farmers affiliated to the Ragati Tea Factory.
He said the government was reining in on the cartels that have been taking advantage of tea farmers and coming in between the growers and consumers globally.
The Deputy President also challenged the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to explore ways to process orthodox tea which he said fetches better prices internationally.
“We want to encourage our farmers to consider producing orthodox tea because it fetches better prices. We are in discussions with KTDA, Tea Board of Kenya and counties on how we can assist our KTDA factories so they can install a production line for orthodox tea which costs twice as much as the conventional tea,” he noted.
Under Executive Order No. 1 of 2023, President William Ruto tasked his deputy to spearhead public sector reforms.
Gachagua has already hosted several discussions with smaller groups, including Parliamentary Caucus on Coffee and Tea Sub-Sector Reforms.
Anticipated conferences are expected to sum-up of the discussions towards final frameworks of implementing proposed reforms.