In a fiery Monday meeting, parchment coffee farmers of Uasin Gishu County vehemently disagreed with SME Cabinet Minister Simon Chelugui’s proposed price of 230 Kenyan shillings per kilo for their produce.
“It’s a slap in the face!” declared one farmer, echoing the sentiments of many. “Our costs have gone up, and 230 shillings simply doesn’t cover it. We demand a fair price of 560 shillings!”
The proposed price has sparked outrage among farmers, who feel it falls far short of the cost of production and the effort involved in cultivating high-quality parchment coffee. “We put our blood, sweat, and tears into growing this coffee,” another farmer remarked. “Asking us to accept 230 shillings is an insult to our hard work.”
Adding fuel to the fire is the Minister’s suggestion that farmers sell their coffee through cooperatives. While seemingly intended to streamline the process, many farmers view it as a loss of control and potential for exploitation. “We’ve seen what happens with cooperatives,” grumbled one farmer. “We end up being taken advantage of, and the middlemen reap the real profits.”
Minister Chelugui, facing an agitated crowd, attempted to explain the government’s reasoning for the proposed price, citing market fluctuations and global economic challenges. He stressed the need for compromise and collaboration between farmers and the government.
“I understand your concerns,” the Minister conceded. “However, we must work together to find a solution that is sustainable for both farmers and the industry.” He promised to hold another meeting with the farmers at the end of the week to further discuss the pricing issue.