Kenya to modernize coffee pulping factories with US$52.5m financing from World Bank

KENYA – Kenya is seeking Ksh.5.7 billion (US$52.5m) financing from the World Bank for the rehabilitation of about 800 coffee pulping factories.

This is in addition to the Ksh 1.5 billion (US$13.9m) coffee revitalization project launched by the government in partnership with the World Bank targeting eight counties to increase coffee production.

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The programme covers Kiambu, Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Machakos, Embu, Tharaka Nithi and Meru Counties.

According to the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, the new financing sourced is expected to be available in the next three months.

The funding will go towards putting up modern equipment and pulping lines in factories to improve the quality of coffee delivered for milling, reports Daily Nation.

“Once the World Bank provides the money, we will install fermentation tanks, drying beds, digital weighing scales and modern pulping machines to make our factories efficient,” Mr Munya said.

He noted the new coffee pulping machines use less water and produce higher quality produce. Under the initiative, farmers will earn more from their cherry.

“Once the World Bank provides the money, we will install fermentation tanks, drying beds, digital weighing scales and modern pulping machines to make our factories efficient,”

Peter Munya – Agriculture Cabinet Secretary

The renovated pulping factories will also be equipped with modern security systems to curb coffee theft as most of the thefts are planned by insiders to impoverish the farmer, stated the CS.

“The funding will be used to install CCTV cameras and alarms, which will help deter theft. The security guards will not have any excuse if theft occurs. The cartels who have been staging these crimes will have nowhere to hide,” he said.

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The Cabinet secretary emphasised the need for transparency in milling and instructed the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU) to ensure farmers witness the entire milling and marketing process.

“Unscrupulous millers have been lying that farmers do not produce good coffee but this has been debunked because most of what we are receiving at the mill is grade A and AB. The farmer must be invited to witness the milling and also have a say on the price of their coffee,” he stated.

Coffee earnings decline

Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) has reported that coffee for the eight months to August dropped by Sh2.4 billion (US$22.1m) compared with the similar period last year.

The market report indicated that the crop had earned Kenya Sh9 billion (US$82.9m) by the end of last month, down from Sh11.4 billion (US$105m) in corresponding period last year.

According to NCE, the low earnings resulted from lower quality coffee as the supply of farming inputs was disrupted following restrictions imposed in the country to curb coronavirus spread.

The average coffee price went up to Sh20,088 (US$185) during the period from Sh16,740 (US$154) for a 50-kilo bag in the corresponding eight months of the previous year, with the rally attributed to shortage of coffee that resulted in higher prices in the world market.

The number of bags traded in the review period was 367,175, down from 556,608 in 2019’s first eight months, representing a 34.03 percent drop.

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