KENYA – Kenyan coffee exports experienced a substantial surge in January, nearly doubling to 2,685 tonnes compared to the previous month, reflecting heightened demand for quality crops from the main October-December production season.  

This rebound marks a significant turnaround from December’s export performance, which plummeted to the lowest level in over two decades at 1,478 tonnes. 

According to the latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the increased export volume translated into a 72 percent rise in revenues, climbing from KES1.2 billion (US$9.1M) in December to KES2.1 billion (US$15.85M) in January. 

“The quantity of exported coffee increased from 1,478.3 tonnes in December 2023 to 2,685.8 tonnes in January 2024, with a corresponding increase in value from Sh1.2 billion (US$9.1M) to KES2.1 billion,” KNBS stated in its latest updates. 

Overall, in 2023 Kenya’s coffee exports amounted to 47,861 tonnes out of the total production of 48,648 tonnes, generating a revenue of US$251.86 million. 

Kenyan coffee is renowned globally for its quality, attracting buyers such as roasters and blenders. The international prices serve as a benchmark for local pricing at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange. 

However, despite this positive development, the coffee sector faces challenges, with many farmers shifting to more lucrative ventures like real estate and avocado farming. Recognizing the need for revitalization, the government is implementing reforms to rejuvenate the industry. 

Efforts include a proposed direct settlement system for expedited and transparent payment of coffee sales proceeds, along with a US$37.72 million allocation to support coffee farming.  

The funds, directed to the Coffee Cherry Advance Revolving Fund and production, aim to ensure a guaranteed minimum return of KES80 (US$0.50) per kilo, up from the previous KES60 (US$0.38). 

Additionally, the Coffee Bill 2023 seeks to reorganize the industry, transitioning regulatory and commercial roles to the Coffee Board of Kenya and enhancing research under the Coffee Research Institute. 

The recent declaration of coffee as a strategic crop for Africa by the African Union during its 37th Summit further underscores the region’s commitment to coffee farming. 

The key resolutions during the summit include promoting value addition within the continent and ceasing the export of raw coffee beans to enhance farmer incomes and counter historical exploitation. 

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