Kisii governor James Ongwae on Wednesday held talks with officials from the Coffee Research Institute to discuss revival of coffee farming in Kisii County.
The governor said his administration is committed to revamping the coffee sector, to enable farmers reap maximum benefits from the crop.
Speaking in his office when he received Director Coffee Research Institute, State Department for Agricultural Research Dr. Elisha Gitau, the governor expressed the need to establish new practices that will help farmers to profitably engage in coffee production.
“Coffee in a major cash crop in this area. My administration is in the process of revamping the coffee sector to make it more vibrant and economically sustainable for players engaged in its production,” said the governor.
Ongwae said agriculture is a devolved function adding that for counties like Kisii where residents rely on crop production as their life line, institutions such as Coffee Research Institute come in handy.
Ongwae indicated that through the department of agriculture, the county will sensitize farmers on how to increase coffee crop production per bush from the current five kilograms to 28 kilograms annually especially through promoting and enhancing the planting of Ruiru 11 variety.
“Kisii has the sweetest type of coffee. Its flavor and aroma are unmatched and this attracts good prices at the market. We are in the process of adding value to the crop thus need to scout for sustainable partnerships that will enable farmer improve on their earnings which will have a bearing on improved production,” he said.
Dr. Gitau noted that for farmers to get better returns, they need to replace their aged bushes of coffee trees with new ones.
The Director said returns from the cash crop are highest in the country despite the challenges bedeviling the sector.
“Though the CRI is not properly funded to enable it execute its mandate properly. We are doing our best to facilitate coffee farming revival in Kenya,” he said.