MPs express concerns over slow uptake of coffee cherry advance fund

Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry and Cooperatives have expressed concerns over slow uptake of coffee cherry advance loans by farmers.

The legislators who visited several coffee factories in Gatanga Sub County on Friday said Sh2 billion of the fund is lying idle as farmers shy off from sourcing the money to boost production of the cash crop.

Committee members led by Gichugu MP Robert Gichimu Githinji and his Gatanga counterpart Joseph Nduati Ngugi observed that farmers have educated properly on Cherry fund, which is given at an interest of three percent, pleading with farmers to take the money by using their previous delivered coffee as collateral.

The MPs spoke when they were on a fact finding mission on how digital milling machines are functioning in various coffee factories.

Gichimu called on New Kenya Planters Coffee Union (New KPCU) to intensify sensitizing coffee farmers on the importance of Cherry fund which is of big help when it comes to cutting down the harvesting cost.

The Gichugu lawmaker urged coffee farmers to take advantage of the funds since the money can as well be utilized to pay school fees for their children as they wait for payment of coffee delivered.

Digital milling machines are set to be donated to all coffee factories in the country to mitigate coffee theft through use of outdated machines. The new machines are automated and will reduce a lot of work done in the factories.

On the question on whether the machines will replace human labour in the factories, the MP allayed fears on retrenchment of employees saying the workers will be trained on how to operate the new machines.

Gatanga MP Ngugi said the government has improved tea and coffee prices and farmers are reaping big, urging the coffee farmers to improve and increase their production.

Nduati said the government is determined to safeguard coffee factories through installing security lights to fight coffee theft.

Benjamin Thuru, the chairman of Githika coffee farmers’ cooperative society acknowledged government’s intervention which led to an increase of production stating that last financial year his cooperative produced 1.2 million tonnes of coffee cherries.

Thuru said his farmers have not benefited from the coffee Cherry fund due to conditions associated with the funds urging the committee to ease the process of acquiring the money.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *