KENYA – Members of the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) are in Kenya for talks with Kenyan coffee farmers who are looking to ink direct purchase deals with top global coffee buyers.

According to Business Daily, the ICO executive director Jose Sette held a meeting with Council of Governors vice chair Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and the Coffee Sub Sector Reforms Implementation Committee chairperson Joseph Kieyah in an effort to fetch higher prices for Kenyan farmers.

The move could see growers earn up to Sh7, 000 more per bag.

About 85 per cent of Kenya’s coffee is sold abroad through the Nairobi Coffee Exchange, a lengthy supply chain that has dimmed farmers’ earnings.

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Waiguru noted that the short shelf-life for processed coffee poses a challenge for farmers and processors if they do not have ready and better markets to buy it.

“The problem is not the form in which our coffee is exported, the problem is the market.

If we get better markets for our coffee, we will increase returns for our farmers and lead to improved living standards,” said Ms Waiguru.

According to a study by ICO, the ICO composite indicator price reported that global coffee production has decreased by 2.9% to an average of 107.20 US cents/lb, which is the lowest monthly average for July since 2007, when the monthly composite indicator reached 106.20 US cents/lb.

Prices for all coffee groups fell in July 2018, though the largest month-on-month decrease occurred for Brazilian Naturals, which declined by 4% to 110.54 US cents/lb.

Total exports in June 2018 amounted to 10.45 million bags, 2.6% higher than in the same month one year ago, led by an increase of 7.9% to 3.95 million bags for Robusta.

However, total Arabica shipments in June 2018 fell by 0.4%, to 6.51 million bags, with exports of Colombian Milds growing by 1.1%, to 1.03 million bags, and Brazilian Naturals by 2.2%, to 2.61 million bags. Other Milds fell by 3.2%, to 2.87 million bags.

Coffee prices have fallen consistently over the course of coffee year 2017/18, with decreases recorded in seven out of the last ten months.

The monthly average of the ICO composite indicator fell by 2.9% to 107.20 US cents/lb in July 2018.

This represents the lowest monthly average for July since 2007.