The value of coffee sold through Kenya’s auction fell 9per cent to sh 8.5 billion in the half year to March due to lower volumes and prices.
Coffee sold was worth sh 9.3billion on the first half of the 2014/2015 crop season that runs from October to September. Daniel Mbithi, CEO of the Nairobi Coffee Exchange attributed the decline to lower volumes together with the price trend in New York. Kenya’s privces track those of arabica in New York
The average price dipped to $214.51 per 50-kg bag from $232.4 in the previous year Officials said 324,585 bags of 60-kg eachs were sold in the six months to March compared with 328,401 the previous year.Many small-scale coffee farmers have switched to other crops or sold land for real estate deterred by the poor earnings in recent times.
Kenyan coffee is well known for its intense flavour, full body, and pleasant aroma with notes of cocoa. Coffee from Kenya is of the ‘mild Arabica’ type that is used around the world by blenders and roasters to boost the quality of their blends. Kenya exports almost 90per cent of the coffee through the Exchange with the reaminder sold directly to foreign buyers.
The coffee subsector has about 600,000 small scale farms supporting about 5 million people across 31 counties. Coffee production has decreased from a high of 129,000 metric tonnes to an average 50,000 annually in the last 20 years.
However, the sector’s fortunes are set to change as the president appointed a 19member task force to look into issues ailing the sector and put an end to the cartels.