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Bungoma farmers to receive free coffee seedlings

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Farmers in Bungoma County are set to receive free two million coffee seedlings in the 2019/2020 season in a bid aimed at boosting production in the region.

According to the county’s department of agriculture, Bungoma produces 14m kilogrammes of processed coffee yearly and would like to increase their production capacity by 10m kilogrammes annually.

Bungoma ranks sixth in coffee production in Kenya behind Murang’a, Nyeri, Embu, Kirinyaga and Kiambu. Farmers in the region have already received one million seedlings distributed through 40 cooperative societies. The seedlings were procured from the Coffee Research Institute.

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According to the 2019 Economic Survey Report, the area under coffee production is increasing due to new planting by farmers in areas west of the Rift Valley and improved productivity in Central and areas east of the Rift.

In this, the area under coffee production increased from 114,700 hectares in 2016/17 to 115,600 hectares in 2017/18, mainly on account of small holder co-operatives.

This led to increased coffee quantity by seven per cent from 38,700 tonnes in the 2016/17 season to 41,400 tonnes in the 2017/18 season.

Coffee production by estates however, declined by 22.5 per cent from14,200 tonnes in 2016/17 to 11,000 tonnes in 2017/18 due to uprooting of coffee bushes in peri-urban areas to make way for real estate development. The average yield of coffee from cooperatives increased by 23.6 per cent while that of estates decreased by 22.6 per cent, in the 2017/18 crop year.

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