KENYA – Data from Kenya’s Central Bank shows that the country exported the largest volume of coffee in 14 years in May boosted by increased local production attributed to favorable weather in gains that may be eroded by the State’s suspension of trading permits.

In the month, Kenya exported 6,447 tonnes in May, the highest quantity of exports since May 2009 when the exports stood at 7,401 tonnes.

The coffee was sold at Ksh4.83 billion (US$33.84 million) translating to Ksh750,543 ($5,257) per tonne. It is the highest value of the beans since August 2022, when a tonne fetched Ksh764,990 (US$5,358).

Kenya has in recent months enjoyed a sharp growth in coffee production, and in the financial year 2021/22, coffee production rose by 50.24 percent, which was the highest crop recorded per year in two decades.

The auction volumes increased from 25,126 tonnes (407,432 bags) to 38,890 tonnes (630,646 bags). Further, direct sales volumes increased from 10,444 tonnes (174,806 bags) to 11,841 tonnes (197,341 bags).

The national production rose from 34,512 tonnes of coffee in the 2020/21 crop year to 51,853 tonnes in 2021/22, according to data from the Coffee Directorate.

Eaagads, a coffee seller listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), for instance, earned a net profit of Ksh10.88 million ($76,217) for the financial year ended March, a 14 percent increase from Ksh9.53 million ($66,760) last year.

The company attributed the performance to increased coffee sales, which saw its revenue jump to Ksh234 million ($1.64 million) from Ksh142 million ($994,746).

“In the year under review, the company achieved sales of 348 tonnes of coffee compared with 185 tonnes in March 2022,” said the firm.

“The increase was mainly attributed to the favorable weather experienced in the year, which enhanced bean development.”

The sector has, however, ground to a halt in recent weeks after the government suspended coffee trading licenses for all traders to undertake reforms that will get rid of cartels.

The auction at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) has not run for more than four weeks, leaving farmers stuck with piles of beans they can’t sell.

“The government had promised to extend existing marketing and brokerage permits by three months up to September through a gazette notice but that hasn’t happened. This means no trading can take place at the auction because all permits are affected,” a source linked to the auction told Daily Nation.

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