Kenya’s coffee production projected to drop to 40,000 tons in 2020: official

A woman sorts out coffee berries at Rui-Ruiru Coffee Factory in Mathira, Nyeri County, Kenya, Nov. 5, 2020. (Xinhua/Fred Mutune)

Kenya’s coffee production is projected to drop to 40,000 tons in 2020 from the 44,000 tons produced last year, a government official said on Tuesday.

Hamadi Boga, principal secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock said in Nairobi that one of the drivers of lower production is declining productivity at the farm level.

“Our farmers are harvesting less per coffee tree while others are converting their land for real estate purposes and this is negatively affecting our coffee production,” Boga said during the launch of the automation of the seed certification and plant variety protection system.

Boga said that on average a farmer is able to harvest 2 kg per coffee bush while major coffee producing nations can achieve up to 30 kg per bush.

The Kenyan official said that if farmers are able to triple their yield, Kenya will be able to revive the coffee sector and attain the production levels witnessed in the late 1980s.

Boga said that small scale farmers deliver their coffee to cooperatives who process the cash crop before it is sold to the auction or to overseas buyers.

“The complexity of governance by cooperatives societies has resulted in late payments to farmers and this has discouraged the cultivation of coffee,” he added.

He said that due to lack of strong coffee drinking culture, the country is over reliant on overseas sales.