Coffee yields surge 50pc in one year on input subsidies

a coffee farme

A coffee farmer in Cheptais, Bungoma County, harvests berries.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Subsidised fertilisers and access to affordable farm inputs saw coffee production volumes grow 50.24 percent during the crop year 2021/2022 to hit 51,843 tonnes compared to 34,505 recorded a year earlier.

Co-operatives and MSMEs Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said co-operative societies accounted for the bulk of production at 70 percent. They produced 36,290 tonnes of coffee during the 2021/22 crop season while estate companies had an output of 15,553 tonnes.

Mr Chelugui however decried a drop in coffee output compared to the 1980s and urged farmers to curb the trend.

He spoke at a consultative round table meeting hosted by global fertiliser firm, Yara at Thiririka coffee factory in Kiambu county.

“Despite the significant role of coffee in our economy, coffee production continued to decline over the years from as high as 128,000 tonnes in 1989 to as low as 34,505 tonnes last year,” he told the meeting that was also attended by Norwegian minister for International Development Anne Tvinnerheim.

Yara CEO Svein Holsether affirmed that the Norway-based multinational is keen to partner with farmers to ensure nutrient-rich crop-specific fertiliser reaches the field promptly.

“As a crop nutrition company, we focus on improving crop nutrition delivery for our partners thereby improving production and quality. We also train members from the cooperatives, undertake soil analysis and offer digital solutions to drive efficiency and productivity,” said. Yara has in the past four years inked partnerships with small-scale farmers in over 200 coffee cooperatives and commercial estates for fertiliser credit lines that are offset through earnings.

Ms Tvinnerheim challenged farmers to maximise production.

“I’m so inspired to hear what is been done here in this cooperative and we will continue being a worthy partner in agricultural investments in Kenya and in the region,” she stated.