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Kenyan coffee ambitions heat up

Friday, November 18, 2016 - 01:28

Kenya is working to increase the value of its coffee by roasting more beans instead of focusing on raw bean exports, and is also pushing farmers to work with more foreign investors to increase markets abroad. Ciara Lee reports.

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. Its raw bean exports are a major source of foreign exchange - but now Kenya's coffee industry is hoping to get an extra caffeine boost. This new roasting machine is being installed by the Othaya Farmers Co-operative in the central highlands. Farmers here are being encourage to start roasting their own beans and produce packed coffee for local retail and potential export. The government says it wants to increase the amount of coffee roasted locally by 5-10 percent annually. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OTHAYA COFFEE CO-OPERATIVE CHAIRMAN, JAMES GATHUA, SAYING: "If we take our coffee through the value addition process and we are able -- we get market, the issue here is the market. If we get the market that is domestic market coffee, the payment will be higher than the prices we are getting right now. Kenya produced 45,000 tonnes of beans in the last year but production is only half what it was in the 1980s. The country grows 1 percent of the world's coffee every year. But it punches above its weight in quality as many global firms seek its Arabica beans to blend with lower quality varieties. The aim is to boost earnings for the co-operative's 15,000 farmers. They currently receive a maximum of 78 shillings per kg of raw beans - that's less than 80 cents in U.S. money. They could earn 100 shillings after roasting. But growers say they want more support, including removing duty on roasting machines.

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Kenyan coffee ambitions heat up

Friday, November 18, 2016 - 01:28