Waiguru markets Kirinyaga coffee in Italy, wants higher prices

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Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru is in Italy to market the county’s coffee in line with the vision of making it the best selling product in the world.

In the outskirts of Rome on Thursday, Waiguru met Corsisin Coffee President Patrick Hoofer, who is also chairman of Italy and Francesco Coffee Millers. They discussed value addition and how to market coffee.

The Governor told the meeting that over 72 percent of Kirinyaga’s population depends on agriculture while over 90 percent relies directly or indirectly on the sector.

In 2016/17, she said, the county produced 26,000 tonnes of coffee but this could increase to 40,000.

There are 67,578 growers across Kirinyaga. Production has increased from 24,000 to 33,000 tonnes, Waiguru attributing this to extension services by her administration, the availability of fertiliser and better management of societies.

She reported that around 15 cooperative societies grow 45,469 acres of coffee while estates have about 400.

The price has increased from Sh40 to between Sh80 and Sh110 but the Governor said it could be higher.

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“My government is committed to ensuring coffee production is increased. We have put several measures in place to improve yield,” she said.”

The county is conducting soil tests to determine levels of acidity and fertiliser application. It recently partnered with Safaricom digifarm to create a data bank of all farming activities and statistics in the county.

In addition, the county’s agriculture department is collecting data on farmers for the distribution of cheap fertilisers.

Waiguru said the county is ready for challenges in marketing and asked security forces to curb coffee theft

She travelled with assembly Majority Leader Kamau Murango and Trade and Cooperatives chief officer Sheila Mukanga.

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