Kenya : world coffee producers in conclave in Nairobi

East Africa's largest coffee shop chain is taking Kenyan tea and coffee to China. Photo : Quartz

NEWSROOM (ADV) – Kenya will next week host the 124th Session of the International Coffee Council (ICO) meeting to discuss challenges facing the sub-sector, officials said on Friday.

Joseph Kieyah, chairman of the organizing committee said that over 4,000 local and international delegates will attend the March 25-29 summit to be opened by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“The meeting will help open up Kenyan coffee to the outside market especially now when we are looking forward to doubling annual production of the crop from 46,121 metric tons to 92,000 metric tons over the next 5 years,” Kieyah told reporters in Nairobi.

He said that Kenya is committed to overhauling the coffee sub-sector to ensure benefits trickle down to smallholder farmers.

Kenya will be hosting the global coffee summit for the first time since ICO, a body that brings together exporting and importing countries to address challenges facing the commodity, was established in 1963.

Hamadi Boga, Principal Secretary of Research at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Research noted that Kenya has put in place several mechanisms to turn around the coffee sub-sector.

“We used to produce the best specialty coffee in the world, but our production has dropped over the years due to numerous problems that have forced smallholder farmers to neglect the cash crop in pursuit of more lucrative options, “said Boga.

He revealed that the government has formed a Coffee Sector Implementation Committee with the mandate to provide strategic leadership in the implementation of reforms in the coffee sub-sector.

He revealed that the new coffee regulations are now ready and will be submitted to the office of the Attorney General for gazettement by the end of next week.

ICO member governments represent 98 percent of global coffee production and 67 percent of global consumption. The organization had 50 members as of June 2018.

“We are taking a series of measures to tackle global challenges facing the coffee industry,” said Jose Sette, executive director of ICO.

He said that ICO is working towards strengthening the global coffee sector and promoting its sustainable expansion in a market-based environment for the betterment of all participants in the coffee sector.

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