Farmers are likely to earn impressive returns despite the world coffee production shortfall of 14 million bags as demand in the global market is on the rise, a marketer said yesterday.
According to Kamau Kuria, the managing director of Coffee Management Service (CMS), the demand for the produce now stands at 172 million bags against a production of 158 million bags.
This, Kuria noted, has led to an increase in prices for the second most traded commodity in the world.
Kuria said that thus far, the international market is facing a severe shortage of quality Arabica coffee following drought and frostbite in Brazil, the main supplier.
“As a country, we expect good returns for farmers since our main competitor Brazil experienced drought and frost, so Kenyan farmers will reap from a bumper harvest and good quality coffee production,” said Kuria.
He, however, said local production was still low at 28,000 metric tonnes, below the capacity of 128 tonnes.
“As a coffee marketing firm, we need to improve production which currently stands at 2-20kg per bush to improve on our tonnage,” said Kuria.
Speaking when he presented a pulping machine to Gachatha coffee factory in Nyeri, Kuria said the Sh6 million machine would help improve the quality of coffee beans, besides saving on water and electricity charges.
The five-tonne pulp machine manufactured by a Colombian company will replace those installed in 1965, and will cut operational costs by 70 per cent, it emerged.
“Farmers will now produce high-quality beans as the machine does not nib or break beans during pulping, guaranteeing good quality that will fetch a premium price in the market,” said Kuria.
Factory Chairman Peter Mathenge said the new machine will save farmers over Sh2 million.
During pulping, farmers incur huge costs of pumping water using electricity since coffee grade sorting at the factory level is done through big volumes of water.
Africa produces 11 per cent of the global coffee output, with Ethiopia and Uganda churning out 40 and 30 per cent of the continent’s coffee respectively.
Small-holder farmers make up 70 per cent of Kenya’s coffee growers. In the 2019/2020 season, land under coffee was 119,675 hectares, according to the Kenya Coffee Directorate.
A drop in coffee production within Mt Kenya counties of Murang’a, Kiambu, Nyeri and Meru has been attributed to real estate development that is taking up more land.
“While production of coffee has expanded to western parts of the country, this expansion cannot adequately compensate for the uprooting of coffee bushes going on in major growing regions,” it said.