Kenya automates coffee farmer’s acquisition of inputs through newly launched E-Subsidy Programme

KENYA – The government of Kenya has launched the National Coffee Farm Inputs Stimulus Package E-Subsidy Programme, aimed to enable coffee farmers access a wide range of inputs of their choice at the required time, and at the nearest input supplier through an e-voucher system.

The stimulus programme targets 82,650 farmers in the 32 coffee growing counties and is being implemented by the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (New KPCU).

Both smallholder coffee farmers in cooperative societies and small estate coffee farmers holding less than 20 acres of land under coffee are eligible to join the programme. 

The government has identified input suppliers who will be involved in the programme like Agro-dealers and Cooperative societies that issue inputs.

To ease the process, a farmer will be issued with a card that he/she will use to buy fertilizer or pesticides from accredited suppliers.

The farmer will swipe the card at the accredited agro-dealer and pay 60% of the input cost and a 40% subsidy will be given by the government.

Agriculture CS Peter Munya highlighted that this initiative will help farmers to increase their productivity as well as lower their cost of production.

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Munya also revealed that the ministry was working with Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) to conduct tests on pesticides to ensure they were up to the required standards before being sold to farmers.

He said this was necessitated by complaints from farmers on the quality of some pesticides being sold to them leading to losses.

Unlike in previous programs where government entities such as NCPB used to procure all inputs in bulk and distribute, this e-voucher program benefits local businesses, and even farmer-owned agro-shops can register and be part of the program.

The move is part of the coffee revitalization programme that seeks to support coffee production expansion, adoption of improved coffee varieties, increased use of affordable/subsidized farm inputs, and training of farmers on best agricultural practices.

The overall goal of the programme is to promote a sustainable increase in income among the Coffee Growers through improved productivity.

In 2020, the state forged a partnership with the World Bank to launch phase one of coffee revitalization project to a tune of Ksh 1.5 billion (US$13.2m) concessional loan in two years that will focus on increasing coffee production in 8 growing areas.

Despite many interventions to support the coffee industry, there has been a steady decline of production from 129,637 MT CC in 1988 to 36,873 MT CC in 2020.

This is attributed to reduction of land put under production from 153,030Ha to 119,675Ha during the same period.

Weak enforcement of policies and regulations in the industry has also contributed to the decline.

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