Kenya is projected to produce 45, 000 metric tonnes of coffee in 2015, which is a marginal decline from last year’s 49,000 metric tonnes due to cyclical nature of the crop, the coffee regulator
Agriculture Food Fisheries Authority (AFFA) Interim Head of Coffee Directorate Grenville Melli told an agricultural forum in Nairobi that exports will hit 46,000 MT as some of last year’s stocks will be exported this year.
“Earnings are set to increase from the 190 million U.S. dollars achieved in 2014 to 210 million dollars in 2015 as a result of the depreciating Kenya shilling as well as higher international coffee prices,” Melli said during the Annual Coffee Stakeholders workshop.
He said currently the average price of Kenyan coffee at the international market is 200 U.S. dollars per 50 kilograms, up from 150 dollars in 2014. He also added that 95 percent of Kenya coffee production is exported, leaving only five percent for local consumption.
“We are implementing measures to increase local coffee consumption from five to ten percent in the next three years,” said Melli.
Government data indicated that Germany is the largest market for Kenyan coffee, taking up 25 percent of all exports. Other key markets are U.S. and Canada, which jointly consume 16 percent while Belgium absorbs six percent of Kenya’s coffee.
Melli said Kenya is also eyeing China as a potential market for the country’s coffee.
“We are going to have an exploratory mission in November to access the consumption patterns of the Chinese market,” he said.
Coffee contributes one percent of the East African nation’s Gross Domestic Product. Kenya has traditionally exported semi- processed coffee as little value addition is carried out in the country.
In order to boost the industry earnings, the government also liberalized the milling and marketing of coffee.
Coffee Directorate Interim Manager in charge of Regulatory and Compliance Enosh Akuma said that land under coffee production has declined from 170,000 hectares to 110,000 hectares currently, adding that fluctuating international prices has contributed to decreased coffee production.
Approximately 60 percent of Kenya’s coffee production comes from small scale farmers and the rest comes from plantations. The agriculture ministry has been rolling out extension services to all coffee producing areas so that farmers can be sensitized on the most modern crop husbandry techniques.
The manager said in order to increase farmers’ incomes, the government is also encouraging value addition.