Struggling and highly impoverished local coffee farmers grappling to rescue themselves from the shackles of the coffee cartel control could soon sigh with relief if a new deal signed between Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and The Java Coffee Company to buy coffee directly is implemented.
DP Gachagua signed the deal in Rotselaar, Belgium.
According to the Joint Commitment deal, the Java Coffee Company, pledged to purchase Kenyan coffee directly from the local farmers starting with 700 tonnes; a move that will soon help small-scale farmers increase their incomes.
The global company, renowned for its commitment to quality coffee, has also undertaken to procure a substantial volume of the coffee production, focusing primarily on supporting Kenyan women farmers and cooperatives.
“Java Coffee Company, a distinguished entity in the global coffee trade, commits to purchase Kenya. coffee directly from local farmers. This commitment entails acquisition of at least 10,000 bags of coffee, totaling 700 tonnes, of premium Kenyan coffee. Our primary focus rests on supporting Kenyan women farmers and cooperatives, recognising their invaluable contributions to the global coffee landscape.” The pact reads in part.
Gachagua midwifed the agreement as part of the government’s plan to revive and reform the coffee sub-sector.
The landmark deal was formalised at the company’s premises in Rotselaar, Belgium, during Gachagua’s official tour to the country.
The joint commitment followed a pivotal bilateral meeting between Gachagua and Kathleen Claes, the Chief Executive Officer of Java, who was accompanied by Wim Claes, President of the Belgium Coffee Roasters Association.
The agreement was solidified ahead of the Coffee Stakeholders Roundtable between Kenya and Belgium coffee roasters, hosted at the esteemed Java Coffee Company.
This significant step not only fosters international cooperation but also champions the prosperity of Kenyan coffee farmers, marking a momentous stride in the global coffee industry.
In his remarks, the Deputy President said Kenya has some of the world’s finest specialty coffees and the government is expanding the market and eliminating middlemen and brokers for the benefit of the small-scale cherry farmers.
“This is as per the reforms we have been implementing in the coffee subsector, hence the importance of this visit. As we aim to raise production from the current 51,000 Metric tonnes to 260,000 Metric tonnes in five years, we are looking forward to bringing our produce closer to the market and the consumer.
In the long term, we want a share in the value-added product, which will deliver more money to our farmer, besides strengthening our economy.” He stated.
Since Belgium is one of the main points of entry and trade hubs for coffee in Europe, Gachagua said, there was also growing demand for certified coffees, triggered by a consumer trend towards sustainable, traceable and high-quality products.
The development comes at a time the government is trying to increase coffee production, which once accounted for up to 40 percent of forex earnings in the country.
“The specialty coffee market in Belgium is fast growing, alongside the country’s tradition for smaller coffee houses and cafés. I appreciate that Belgium is Europe’s third-largest importer of green coffee after Germany and Italy and the largest re-exporter of green coffee in Europe.” The DP added.
He noted that Belgium is also the second largest destination of Kenyan Coffee and the gateway to most European markets through the Port of Antwerp. The port accounts for approximately 50 per cent of Europe’s coffee logistics business.
Production of coffee beans in Kenya is expected to increase due to government subsidies for fertilizers and improved rain conditions.
The Java Coffee Company is a public company established by the Claes family and has been roasting the best coffee for over four generations, since 1935.
Claes has been the company CEO from1984 and handed over to the fourth generation in 2016.
He is now serving as the Director President of the Royal Belgian Coffee Roasters federation. The Company CEO is his daughter, Kathleen, who took over operations of the business in 2016.