The government has not implemented its 3B coffee fund promise it made to coffee farmers two years ago. Instead of channeling the funds directly to farmers as earlier agreed, the state now has changed its tune, saying the money will be used to restructure the Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU). In March this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the funds would be released immediately something that has not come into fruition, begging the question on whether it was just an empty declaration.
“We want to channel the cherry fund through KPCU as we wouldn’t want to have any new institutions for every other fund created,” said CS Peter Munya.
This revelation by Cooperatives Ministry pushes back the operation of the fund by at least 12 months, as the government seeks to restructure the management and assets of the rundown farmer union.
Further, the tie-up of the Ksh.3 billion kitty to the operations of KPCU casts a shadow of doubt to the fruition of the relief fund to coffee producers, there being no assurances to the shaping up of the planters cooperative.
” It’s hard to even establish who really owns KPCU. In spite of the solution lying outside the establishment of new institutions, the gamble on KPCU is a short-cut by government. Farmers have already diversified out of the union, forming their own associations,” said Tegemeo Institute Research analyst Timothy Njagi.