By George Munene
About 1,000 coffee farmers from the Kipkelion Coffee Co-operative Society are set to earn Sh103 million from the direct sale of 134.4 metric tons of coffee directly to South Korea.
The graded AA coffee cherry was sold without going through brokers and fetched the farmers Sh116 a kilogram, 56 per cent more than the Sh76 eaned at the Nairobi coffee auction.
“For the first time in Kenya’s history, smallholder coffee farmers have done a complete vertical integration of the coffee value chain, displacing the predatory brokers and other greedy intermediaries who have denied us direct access to the market,” read a statement from the society’s chairperson, Samuel Marindany.
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The export deal was arrived at during the Coffee Expo held in Korea’s capital Seoul in July last year. The farmers from several coffee cooperatives in Kericho, Bomet, and Nandi counties were able to strike a deal with a South Korean buyer.
A presidential task force appointed in March 2016 reviewed the entire coffee chain and identified areas in its production to marketing that required reforms.
These have led to reforms such as The Coffee Exchange Regulations, 2020 that allow coffee farmers who were previously forced to go through independent brokers.to own brokerage firms and directly sell their cherry.
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During the flagging off of seven coffee containers for direct sale to South Africa last month, Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony pointed out; “The power to earn is now wholly in farmers’ hands. The market liberalisation will cushion farmers who labor the most from predatory brokers.”