Kenya introduces coffee bill as part of five agricultural draft laws aimed to arouse high growth in sector

Cup of espresso with coffee beans, bag, scoop and steam on rustic wooden background

KENYA – The Ministry of Agriculture has unveiled a proposed Coffee Bill 2020 to govern activities around one of the country’s top export earner as part of on-going agricultural reforms that seek to increase the farmers’ incomes, in line with the Big 4 agenda and Agriculture Growth and Transformation Strategy (ASTGS).

According to the new drafted laws, coffee factories have been permitted to register as autonomous societies under the co-operative societies act if they so wish or if their members want them to be registered as such.

The Coffee bill also prohibits millers and marketing agents from lending to farmers as a Kshs. 3 Billion (US$29.5m) Cherry Advance Fund was created earlier in the year and is now operational specifically for funding purposes.

On the other hand, factory management will also find it hard to borrow money as the bill prohibits them from using farmers’ assets as collateral for any reason.

This is meant to protect farmers’ assets as some cooperative societies have found themselves under the threat of being auctioned due to debts, reports Kilimo News.

“These government-sponsored bills are part of on-going agricultural reforms that seek to increase the farmers’ incomes, in line with the Big 4 agenda and Agriculture Growth and Transformation Strategy (ASTGS).”

Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Agriculture – Peter Munya

The Bill has further proposed the establishment of the Nairobi Coffee Exchange, as the commodity will be offered for sale through both auction and direct sales.

Buyers will be required to remit money to marketing agents within 7 days for all bided coffee. If they fail to do so, they will be penalized by meeting any difference in the value of coffee when it is re-offered for sale if it fails to realize the original bid value.

Payments for all coffee shall be done through the Direct Payments System (DSS) from which direct payments will be made to all those who have offered a service for the coffee: millers, marketing agents, coffee factories, estate accounts, and individual farmers.

The bill also re-establishes the Coffee Research Foundation as the Coffee Research Institute which will be autonomous in its operations, implementation of programs, and in the allocation and management of its resources.

It will be the lead agency in coffee breeding; in the developing climate-resilient coffee crop varieties and in leading the scientific effort to strengthen Kenya coffee’s resistance to diseases and pests.

Most importantly, the institute will be the custodian of the Kenyan Coffee Genome and the primary instrument for making modern genomics resources available to researchers working across the coffee production chain.

To fund it there will be a two per cent levy on gross sales of all coffee to support research. This is in addition to a four percent coffee levy calculated on the customs value of the coffee, remitted to support coffee promotion.

Another levy, of one percent will go support regulatory functions and another one percent will go to coffee growing counties to support coffee development.

Government launches 5 agricultural reform bills

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In addition to the Coffee Bill, the Ministry has released four more agricultural reform bills for public participation.

The bills are Fibre Crops Development Authority Bill, Food Crops Development Bill, Horticulture Crops Authority Bill and the Miraa, Pyrethrum, and Industrial Crops Bill.

Once enacted into law, the bills will restore the Coffee Board of Kenya, Kenya Sugar Board, Tea Board of Kenya, Coconut Development Authority, Cotton Development Authority, Sisal Board of Kenya, Pyrethrum Board of Kenya and Horticultural Crops Development Authority.

The boards were disbanded in 2014 after the enactment of the Crops Act 2013 and converted into directorates and senior agriculture officers appointed on interim basis to oversee them.

Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Peter Munya said reinstating the former boards would support government’s strategy to enhance regulation of the export commodities and deepening of the government sponsored reforms in addition to increasing the farmers’ incomes.

In the new era key value chains – tea, coffee and sugar will have independent boards while the other directorates like fibre crops, nuts and oils will be clustered together.

“These government-sponsored bills are part of on-going agricultural reforms that seek to increase the farmers’ incomes, in line with the Big 4 agenda and Agriculture Growth and Transformation Strategy (ASTGS),” Munya said.

The CS said that these bills will be made available for the first round of public discussion and invited stakeholders to submit their views over the next twenty-one (21) days.

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