We need to uproot all coffee stems in Kenya

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria has sponsored a Coffee Bill that seeks to ban the export of unprocessed Kenyan coffee.


Hon Kuria has a point… A very good point… Coffee farmers in Kenya have for ages been victims of terrible prices and exploitation, thanks to the power of cartelism.

Therefore, Hon. Kuria’s bill is a move in the right direction.

However, whereas Hon. Kuria gets it partly right, he falls short of giving the ultimate solution.

What we need in Kenya is not a revision of the laws governing the coffee enterprise… What we actually need in our country is zero coffee on our farms…

We need to uproot all coffee stems around and do alternative farming!…

Yes, I know you think I am insane but just look at it this way:

1. How much do ordinary coffee farmers in country make in a year despite our coffee being ranked among the best in the world and trading at insane prices in the global market?

2. How many Kenyans can afford to take coffee, not once in a week, not once in a month but once in a year? And I am not talking about the relatively good quality Nescafe coffee.. No.. That’s to high…. I am talking about that Grade F thing called Kahawa Ngoma…How many Kenyans can afford it? More than 5%? I highly doubt…..So, in a nutshell, the Kenyan coffee farmer produces that which they cannot afford to consume and then the prices of the same are dictated by cartels…

3. The cartelism at the Mombasa coffee auction has hit monumental levels. Fellows who don’t own a single stem of coffee dictate the prices and in the process make billions at the expense of the Kenyan farmer. Attempts to weed out these cartels have proved futile. It is these cartels which are responsible for the death of KPCU. Those fellows are now in their own level. They have infiltrated the entire supply chain. You thus cannot control them. So, the easiest way would be to deny them the coffee beans. And then we can see where they go to…

4. Coffee farming is a purely colonial relic we no longer need. It was the colonialists’ idea to have us grow coffee to supply them with what they need. Kenya does not need coffee… Moreover, the Central Highlands used for coffee farming are very fertile and with good rains. Better agriculture can happen there… Giving an example, we can try macadamia or avocado farming there…

5. Can we start processing our own coffee here in Kenya as part of the solution as Moses Kuria suggests? No. Never… We shall make the problem bigger… Kenya is an interesting country. Processing coffee here will breed anarchy. Real anarchy like that which is being witnessed in Turkana because of the oil.

6. If we uprooted all the coffee stems and stopped producing coffee, what would we lose?Nothing… After all, we don’t take coffee and even if we wanted to take some, we will simply important which will be cheaper.

7. Coffee currently occupies thousands and thousands of hectares of our fertile land yet gives our people little if any returns.. We should use that land for better farming.

8. We need to start producing that which we can consume. Let me give an example I am very conversant with…. Rice…. Mwea Rice Irrigation Scheme…. Big business… Billions change hands there each year…. Booming economy…. Do you know why? Simple science…. They produce that which they can consume too… That which is viable in local market…. So, wazungu wakikataa kununua, we eat…

9. Finally, I will use my own example. I was born and brought up in Mt Kenya. Where most coffee farming happens. Around 1999, my own father uprooted all his coffee stems after realizing its nonsense… That land has stayed idle until last year when I initiated another kind of farming… And it’s working because I am producing that which is locally viable.

In conclusion, we no longer need to see coffee stems in Kenya except perhaps on the farms of those rich tycoons who do their own processing and marketing. Coffee is a liability to Wanjiku.

Enough said for now..