Meru farmers want government to give back New KPCU mill

Coffee farmer

A farmer sorting coffee for milling. Meru farmers want government to give back New KPCU mill

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

Meru Coffee farmers have appealed to the government to revert the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU) mill to them more than two years after they were kicked out.

The New KPCU took over the management of the mill in 2020, kicking out Meru Coffee Millers Co-operative Union (MCMCU) who had leased it from the defunct KPCU.

MCMCU, which was formed by the Meru Central Coffee Cooperative Union (MCCCU and Meru North Coffee Cooperative Union (MNCCU) in 2014, moved on to establish a private mill at Chaaria from where they operate.

The leasing of the KPCU mill was backed by the Meru County government which granted the union Sh2.5 million.

Speaking to the Nation, MCCCU chairman Ephantus Majau said the union had intended to put up another coffee mill but it would not be prudent.

“We were forced out of the KPCU mill but we are now ready to resume business there. We have been operating from rented space in Chaaria but we could be more efficient if we go back to the KPCU mill. We are now appealing to the government to consider our plea,” Mr Majau said.

He said the officials are in the process of adopting a model where a cooperative union manages the entire process from coffee production, milling, marketing and value addition.

“We have since agreed that we scrap the Meru Coffee Millers Cooperative Union and have all activities under MCCCU. We will then have committees in charge of production, milling, marketing and value addition. This will cut on costs and improve efficiency,” the MCCCU chairman said.

He added that Meru coffee farmers contributed shares worth more than Sh600 million for the establishment of KPCU and the mills.

“With such shareholding, we deserve to be allowed to run the mill on behalf of farmers,” he said.

The New KPCU repossessed its mills – Meru, Kisii, Dandora and Sagana – after it was allowed to oversee a Sh3 billion coffee cherry advance fund set aside by the government.


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