The Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU) has expressed its gratitude to the government for deciding to waive coffee licensing and levy fees with immediate effect as announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta in his State of the Nation Address to Parliament here Thursday.

“The President has added more than six per cent (in income) to the farmer’s pockets,” said William Gatei, the Chairman of the KPCU.

“The President’s directive will remove the exorbitant one million US dollar guarantee requirement to access the auction floors in Nairobi, and enable farmer-owned companies like KPCU to market its farmers’ coffee. It will give more buyers access to Kenyan farmers directly, particularly for smaller specialty lots.”

Gatei described the waiver as a good move in terms of competition and breaking up vested interests which had exploited farmers for decades. He said the KPCU had developed an online marketing platform for buyers but for the last two years they had been prevented from trading on the platform by the licensing regime.

“Lowering barriers to entry for both sellers and buyers is just what coffee farmers have been asking for,” said Gatei.

“This is a very wise decision; according to the World Bank, even with current low levels of production, Kenyan coffee exports generate enough to pay for the country’s oil imports; can you imagine what boosted (coffee) production could do for Kenya’s economy?”

He said that the impact of what the President had announced in his 2016 State of the Nation Address would be felt across Kenya in the 28 counties where coffee is grown.

“From tomorrow (Friday), farmers will be able to take their coffee for pulping without worrying about where they will get the money to transport it.”

Gatei lauded President Kenyatta’s directive, saying that the Kenyan coffee industry will from Friday begin a new journey. “The President deserves commendation for his far-sightedness.”

Source: NNN- KBC