Kenya’s coffee exports could hit $308 mn

September 11th, 2012 - 6:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Nairobi, Sep 11 (IANS) Kenya’s coffee exports are expected to increase this year and could reach $308 million by the end of 2012, an official said.

Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary Romano Kiome told journalists in Nairobi that total production will remain similar to last year’s 55,000 tonnes, reported Xinhua.

“We are expecting our coffee farmers to earn approximately $308 million for 2012, up from $260 million last year,” Kiome said during the launch of a horticultural competitiveness report by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The east African nation in July started a campaign to promote growing of coffee in its western region as the part of effort to promote higher production of the commodity and help farmers diversify sources of their income.

The Coffee Board of Kenya (CBK), a state agency responsible for the promotion of the coffee production, said growing demand for coffee in emerging markets and within Africa means the market for the commodity will be sustained.

“We are telling farmers to take advantage of growing culture of coffee consumption in countries like China and India, the Middle East and within the Africa’s growing middle class,” CBK Managing Director Loise Njeru Wawira told Xinhua in July.

Coffee is currently grown in the Kenyan highlands that include sections of central Kenya extending to Machakos in eastern Kenya, parts of the Rift Valley and Kisii in western Kenya.

The preliminary report which was launched in Nairobi Monday indicated Kenya’s horticultural sector could lose its competitiveness unless the government puts incentives for the sector.

Kiome said the average price of coffee is roughly $140 per 50 kg despite the recent decline in prices. He noted the industry is facing long-term challenges including the conversion of agricultural land into real estate projects.

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