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Coffee regulators issue measures to curb rampant coffee theft

Coffee stakeholders during a meeting in Embu town recently. (PHOTO: JOSEPH MUCHIRI/STANDARD)

Coffee regulators have banned millers from buying coffee without proper documentation in a bid to curb theft at the factories.

According to the Coffee Directorate, co-operatives turning in their dried coffee should produce records to show the origin of the coffee, failing which it will be rejected.

Directorate boss Kiplimo Meli said undocumented coffee was most likely stolen, adding the national government was determined to stamp out coffee theft.

In the past one year, farmers have lost an estimated 500 bags of coffee valued at Sh10 million.

Mr Meli said societies should institute strong corporate governance to eliminate theft perpetrated by insiders, as well as adopt strong deterrent measures such as having armed guards.

“We have instructed societies not to keep a lot of coffee in their stores. They should also work closely with local communities in the spirit of community policing so that residents can report suspicious activities at the factories,” he said.

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Meli assured Kenyans that police investigating the various theft incidents that have been rampant in Central Kenya are compiling a report that would reveal the people behind them.

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He was speaking in Embu town where coffee officials from the county and national governments met with other players in the sub-sector to discuss policies, plans and other issues affecting them.

Meli said the Government had come up with measures to revive the sub-sector. Some of these include provision of subsidised fertiliser through the National Cereals and Produce Board.

“The subsidised fertiliser will be available to farmers at Sh1,800, which is priced lower than the Sh3,000 from stockists,” he said.

Farmers will also have access to subsidised credit facilities through the commodities fund, while the Government has waived farmers’ Sh9.5 billion loan.

Other reforms include upgrading the Nairobi Coffee Exchange to enable online bidding to maximise returns.

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