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Daily Nation : February 8th 2014
36 | Business News APPEAL | Government asks stakeholders to ensure their actions do not disrupt the prevailing confidence in the business Ministry bows to governors’ pressure on coffee marketing Agriculture principal secretary Sicily Kariuki asks Coffee Board of Kenya to provide report on market reforms in two weeks BY MWANIKI WAHOME @mwanikiwahome firstname.lastname@example.org T he government has bowed to pressure from governors in coffee growing areas to initiate reforms in marketing of coffee. Addressing Kenya Coffee @50 forum and annual coffee fair in Ruiru yesterday, Agriculture principal secretary, Ms Sicily Kariuki, said the government would initiate reforms in the industry to enhance value addition with the objective of boosting the growers’ earnings. In this, the coffee marketer — Cof- fee Board of Kenya — was given a two-week ultimatum to provide a report on the available opportunities in coffee value addition chain as a step to enabling farmers earn better from their business. “To this end, Coffee Board of Kenya should undertake a study to profile value addition opportunities in the sector. I would want to see a report in two weeks,” said Ms Kariuki. During the expo, coffee factories from Nyeri County scooped top posi- CHALLENGES Poor production, low demand ails sector Despite Kenya’s poten- the crop. tial to produce 350,000 tonnes of coffee per year, the production has fallen to 45,000 tonnes per annum as the output per tree has remained low at two kilos against possible 30 to 40 kilos. In an effort to boost production, the ministry of Agriculture says the Coffee Research Foundation should identify new areas fit for farming And that has not been the problem facing the business as a narrow market has seen farmers get little returns. To this end, the ministry hopes that by championing a local coffee consumption culture, growers would experience high demand for their produce and in turn earn better from the business. A narrow market base limits our choices. We need to continually look at consumption trends in both the traditional and emerging markets and ensure that our products meet current and future needs.” Agriculture principal secretary Sicily Kariuki tions for their high quality produce last year. The leading factories were Kunguru, Kagere, and Rukira. Others were Mukuu and New Gaturi Gacherago. The announcement comes against the background of mounting pressure from governors in coffee growing areas, particularly Nyeri County, which is seeking alternative markets. Nyeri County governor Nderitu Gachagua has already ordered that coffee be sold through a common pool at the Kenya Planters’ Co-operative Union milling plant. Ms Kariuki, however, said the ministry would organise a forum with the counties to deal with coffee marketing in an attempt to prevent possible loss of business for the crop as a result of the agitation for alternative markets. “We would like to appeal to all stakeholders to ensure that their actions do not disrupt the coffee trade or diminish market confidence,” she noted. She said the government will leg- islate for alternative markets, while waiving debts for co-operatives and other related institutions. It would also initiate specific programmes to improve production and marketing of coffee. “Our production volumes should be beyond a threshold that assures uninterrupted supply to new and captive markets and viability to investors in value chain logistics,” she noted. She said the country had potential to produce 350,000 tonnes of coffee but the output had dropped to 45,000 tonnes per annum as the production per tree has remained low at two kilos against possible 30 to 40 kilos. Coffee growing needed to go to new areas, said Ms Kariuki adding that Coffee Research Foundation would play a great role in realising this goal. “Increases in national production also calls for expansion of coffee production to new areas in the country, this way, we will surmount the challenge of replacement arising from population pressure and the shift to other enterprises in the traditional coffee areas.” Ms Kariuki said the country needed to expand the market for the farmers to have wider choice and earn better. “A narrow market base limits our choices. We need to continually look at consumption trends in both the traditional and emerging markets and ensure that our products meet current and future needs. But let us not forget to cultivate a local consumption culture, a thriving domestic market will buffer us in the event that for some reasons our export markets falter,” she said. The challenge by governors to the established auction market system at Nairobi Coffee Exchange has elicited a response with the multinationals indicating they were lobbying the government officials to intervene. FILE | NATION Nyeri County Governor Nderitu Gachagua, samples coffee at Sagana coffee mills in Kirinyaga. Mr Gachagua has already ordered that the produce be sold through a common pool at the Kenya Planters’ Co-operative Union milling plant. SATURDAY NATION February 8, 2014 CCK backtracks on plan to commercialise Internet addresses BY NATION REPORTER The communications industry regulator has backtracked on a plan to commercialise Kenya’s Internet addressing system following complaints from telecom sector players. Last month, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) had called on the public to submit comments on a plan to transfer the management of the country’s Dot KE domain to a commercial entity. This was in a bid to accelerate adoption of the Dot KE domain and to align its management with the law. However, in a statement yesterday, the industry regulator noted that the proposal had been included in the consultation documents erroneously. “Most notably, one of the stake- holders pointed out an inadvertent error in the public consultation document where it was implied that the Dot KE domain name registry would be transferred to a commercial entity,” reads the statement in part. At the moment, the country code top level domain is managed by a non-profit entity, the Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC) which is comprised of stakeholders from the government and the private industry. Consultations Following the January proposal, one of KENIC’s shareholders, the Kenya Telecommunication Service Providers Association of Kenya, issued a statement protesting the policy direction. Tespok complained that the regu- lator had not carried out adequate consultations with stakeholders in developing the policy directive. The lobby threatened to appeal to the Internet Corporation of Assigned Numbers (ICANN) for intervention. ICANN is a body that oversees the distribution of domain names globally. In yesterday’s statement, CCK said that it had extended the public consultation period for reforms by seven days to February 17. The Dot KE registry is the second largest of its kind in the continent after South Africa’s Dot ZA registry.
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