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The political economy of coffee in Kenya. A case study from Rumukia and Mathira north cooperative societies in the Mount Kenya area

Briefing/policy papers

Written by Eva Ludi

Kenyan coffee used to be the main foreign exchange earner in the 1970s and 1980s, before losing out to tourism and tea in subsequent decades. However, many coffee farmers are still dependent on the crop and are trapped in a cycle of poverty: they hang on to coffee, which is no longer aying for its production costs. The present paper resents an analysis of coffee producers in two coffee cooperative societies in the Mt Kenya area: Rumukia Coffee Cooperative Society in Nyeri South and Mathira North Coffee Cooperative Society in Nyeri North.

Coffee production in both sites is characterised by low income from coffee, poor information and knowledge flow, and poor communication processes across all partners participating in the coffee value chain. Moreover, there are too many players in the chain sharing the proceeds before they reach the farmers.

Wanjiku Chiuri