Chuka — Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has said Sh2.7 billion is available for coffee farmers to boost production.
The money will be loaned to coffee farmers with a payback interest of three per cent and would be accessed through the coffee cooperatives societies.
Addressing a group of farmers during a sensitization exercise at Maara Sub County, Munya revealed that Sh177.8million has already benefited about 15,703 farmers in the country.
He however noted that the turnout number taking the loan in Tharaka Nithi was relatively low with only Sh280,300 having been given to 14 farmers.
“Others counties like Meru, Kirinyaga and Murang’a have taken advantage in borrowing the money as compared to Tharaka Nithi where the number of farmers borrowing the money is very low,” he said.
Munya explained that to access the loan in advance, farmers needed to take their coffee to the factories to be weighed in kilos which would then be used as security when borrowing the money.
“All that is needed is your society to put in your signature that the money loaned will be deducted from the coffee sold,” he explained, adding that this would help in ensuring farmers pay back the money.
He added that farmers would still have access to the loans whether they sold their coffee through New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (New KPCU) or other avenues.
“You don’t need to sell to only New KPCU to get the loans. You can sell anywhere and as long as you registered through your societies you will get the money,” he said.
Furthermore, Munya informed that coffee farmers would continue to enjoy subsidized fertilizers prices which could be accessed through National Cereals and Produce Board.
Farmers can now pay 60 per cent for the fertilizers, he noted, adding that the government would pay the remaining 40 per cent.
He also revealed that the president has availed Sh1 billion to help the farmers in purchasing the fertilizers and other facilities required for farming.
So far, 80,087 farmers have registered for the subsidized fertilizers and 59,000 have already benefited from 18 counties nationwide.
In Tharaka Nithi, 5, 753 farmers have registered and 1, 049 have benefited, summing up the total spend in the county to Sh3.4million
He urged farmers to take advantage of the two opportunities offered by the government in order to double up their coffee production.
He enlightened that the New KPCU is now a State corporation under the State Department for Co-operatives in the Ministry of Agriculture which enables the government to take charge on behalf of the farmers in manufacturing and selling coffee, giving them subsidized fertilizers as well as advancing cherry loan. – Kna