Empowering Farmers through Knowledge

Kenya’s Coffee Revolution: A Percolating Success Story of Reforms, Resilience, and Record-Breaking Profits

In a groundbreaking triumph for Kenya’s coffee sector, farmers have raked in an astonishing US$155 million from coffee sales in the past year, marking a significant milestone in the industry’s resurgence. The Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) reports that cooperative societies and estates played a pivotal role, contributing to the sale of 635,905 bags out of the total 729,511 bags delivered.

Bumper Harvest Fuels Sales Surge

The surge in coffee sales, witnessed between the periods of 2022/2023 and 2023/2024, can be attributed to the commendable increase in production levels. Despite a brief setback between August 15 and September 30, 2023, when farmers temporarily withheld their produce amid confusion surrounding the implementation of coffee reforms, the sector rebounded resiliently. Presently, the NCE accommodates an average of 20,000 bags of coffee weekly, exemplifying the industry’s robust recovery.

Record-Breaking Auctions and Financial Gains

A remarkable highlight was the auction held on December 5 last year, where the Nairobi auction achieved an impressive 94% in sales. Out of 10,372 bags, a staggering 9,730 bags were sold, translating to earnings of Kes448.3 million (US$2.8M). Notably, the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (NKPCU) secured Kes152 million (US$950,000), while Alliance Berries Limited garnered Kes94.1 million (US$588,125). The positive trend continued with 75% buyer participation throughout the year, showcasing a steady improvement from October 1, 2023.

Political Commendation and Reform Success

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua commended the triumph of the coffee sector, noting a turnaround in sentiment among those who initially opposed the reform agenda. Gachagua emphasized the success of reforms in the agriculture sector, highlighting the resilience of the coffee industry in particular. “There are buyers who attempted to blackmail the government through abandoning the market, but after releasing Kes6 billion for the Cherry Fund, they trooped back into the market,” he stated.

Optimism for the Future and Global Allure

Risper Ndung’u, CEO of NCE, expressed optimism about the future, citing the growing confidence of farmers in the reform process. This sentiment was echoed by Cooperative Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui, who encouraged farmers in coffee-growing counties to bolster production to meet the escalating market demand. Chelugui also unveiled ongoing government efforts to attract major buyers like Starbucks and C Dorman, aiming to further elevate the coffee industry onto the global stage.

Commitment to Reforms and Unprecedented Auction Today

NKPCU Chairman Daniel Kiprotich reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to working closely with farmers to implement reforms and amplify production. Today, NCE is set to auction an impressive 22,066 bags of coffee, with KNPCU contributing 6,359 bags and Alliance Berries Ltd bringing an additional 5,000 bags. This auction marks another significant stride towards solidifying Kenya’s position as a powerhouse in the global coffee market.

In conclusion, Kenya’s coffee industry is not only reaping financial rewards but also charting a course towards sustainable growth, fueled by reforms, resilience, and a steadfast commitment to excellence. The aromatic success brewing in Kenya’s coffee fields sends a rich, robust aroma wafting through the global market, inviting major players and enthusiasts alike to savor the fruits of this exceptional journey.