AU Leaders Sign ‘Nairobi Declaration’ To Boost To Coffee Farmers.
Agriculture Ministers from 25 African coffee-growing countries signed a declaration in Nairobi requesting that coffee be added to the Africa Union’s list of strategic commodities.
The agreement, dubbed the ‘Nairobi Declaration,’ seeks to ensure that coffee is given more attention in the continent in terms of adequate funding.
Speaking to the media after the official start of the First African Coffee Summit at a Nairobi hotel, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said the signing of the declaration is a significant milestone in the history of the African coffee sector.
Munya emphasized that the inclusion of coffee in the African Union will go a long way toward unlocking much-needed resources for the revitalization of the African coffee industry, as well as support from Member States, which will marshal the AU to admit coffee into its framework, benefiting coffee farmers.
He stated that there is a need to create an environment in which coffee farmers can thrive, assuring the government’s commitment to ensuring that coffee farmers in the country benefit from their hard-earned produce by limiting middlemen who exploit the farmers.
“It is estimated that there are over 800,000 smallholder coffee farmers who market their produce through 500 Cooperative Societies across the country with 4,000 small to medium coffee estates with farm sizes ranging from 5 to 10 hectares and 100 large coffee estates with sizes of between 10 and over 200 hectares,” cited Munya.
In recognition of the coffee sub-sector, the CS stated that the government has prioritized coffee as one of the key subsectors in its economic development blueprint because it has contributed directly and indirectly to food security and manufacturing through the establishment of agro processing industries.
He noted that, when compared to post-independence, when it led in high production of 129,637 MT during the famous coffee boom, the coffee sub-sector growth has declined due to challenges faced.
Munya cited climate change vagaries, perennial price volatility, market access, and low domestic consumption as major challenges that have harmed farmers’ earnings and livelihoods.
Munya praised the National Government, in collaboration with Counties and other stakeholders, for implementing a number of reforms in the Coffee sub-sector that have resulted in a positive impact in a relatively short period of time.
As a result of these reforms, the Kenyan Coffee Industry is registering noticeable improvement, with realizations ranging from Sh18.73 billion in 2013/2014 to Sh21.61 billion in 2018/2019 and Sh27.07 billion in 2020/2021, a 33 percent increase in coffee earnings between 2013/2014 and 2020/2021.
On the same note, the CS stated that the average coffee prices per 60kg bag of coffee have increased from USD 184.60 in 2018/2019 to USD 337.30/60kg bag in 2020/2021, which translates to an 83% increase in coffee prices, adding that in the year 2021/2022, coffee prices continued to demonstrate remarkable improvement with the auction having registered an average of USD 374.40/60kg bag as of 31st March 2022, an increase of 11.1% from the previous year’s price
Prof. Joseph Kieyah, Chairman of the Office of the President-based Coffee Sector Implementation Committee, stated in his remarks that Kenya has made significant progress in enacting new reforms over the last six years.
“Despite prevailing challenges both within and outside the industry, we have witnessed incredible progress especially in increased prices to small scale farmers following legal framework,” said Kieyah adding that some local farmers also managed to export their coffee directly to new markets, for example South Korea.
The Chairman stated that Kenyan coffee producers are currently enjoying impressive prices as a result of high demand for beans globally, and urged young people to participate in the coffee business.
The First African Coffee Summit, which has the theme ‘Sustainable Development and Economic Growth in the African Coffee Sector’ and will last three days, was officially opened by CS Munya on behalf of President Uhuru Kenyatta.