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Coffee Sector Implementation Committee term extended

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JOSEPH WANGUI

By JOSEPH WANGUI
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President Uhuru Kenyatta has extended the term of office of Coffee Sector Implementation Committee.

The committee was formed to implement the findings of a coffee reforms taskforce that recommended ways of revamping the struggling agriculture sub-sector.

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, through a gazette notice released Friday, indicated that the committee term has been extended up to June 30.

The team chaired by Prof Joseph Kieyah was formed in 2016 and was expected to release the much-awaited first ever National Coffee Reforms Policy by end of this month.

In the policy, the team is supposed to provide proposals for a roadmap on how to revive the ailing sub-sector that has been on a steady decline for years forcing some farmers to uproot their coffee trees. The committee has been working on the final draft of the proposed policy.

President Kenyatta formed the 12-member committee to review the current regulatory framework for the coffee sector and propose changes to align it to current and future needs.

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It was also tasked with developing a roadmap and action plan for the revival of agriculture sub-sector focusing on production, value addition and marketing.

The team was also expected to co-ordinate and provide strategic leadership in implementation of the reforms recommended by a coffee taskforce that the President had formed to investigate how the once leading foreign exchange earner can be revived and growers be protected.

To revive the sector, the taskforce in its report had proposed promotion of specialty coffee and turning the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) into a public limited company.

The report made several recommendations including legal reform of the coffee sub-sector and amendment of several other laws impacting on industry.

Further, the taskforce recommended that measures should be undertaken to make coffee farming attractive to the youth since the average coffee farmer was found to be 60 years old.

Prompt payment was found to one of the quick ways of making the youth attracted to farming of coffee, the report said. 

In addition, it said another way of increasing involvement of the youth in the coffee sub sector is to support value addition initiatives such as street coffee vending, coffee cafes and youth-owned coffee house start-ups.

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