TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Africa-US Trade Under Agoa Hits $10bn

Wednesday, 17 December 2003

Source: The Nation (Nairobi)

Kenyan coffee has finally been included in the list of local exports to the United States through the African Growth Opportunity Act (Agoa) agreement.

Cooperative Development and Marketing minister Peter Njeru Ndwiga announced yesterday that the inclusion was one of the major achievements made by a Kenyan delegation to the US last week.

He said that in a major break from tradition, locally produced coffee would now be fully processed, packed and sold to the US under a Kenyan brand name.

Previously, local coffee had been auctioned at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange while still raw. The buyers would then process it and resell the same in their own brand names at a higher price.

Mr Ndwiga said that the Government, through the Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU), was in the process of acquiring modern coffee roasting and packaging machines to take advantage of the new market.

"We are now preparing ourselves to take advantage of the golden opportunity and very soon we shall start," Mr Ndwiga said. The minister, who was with his Water Development counterpart Martha Karua, was addressing a meeting of coffee and tea farmers at Kathangariri market in Embu.

He said that under the new arrangement, middlemen in the marketing systems would be drastically reduced and farmers will now reap maximum benefits for their produce.

Mr Ndwiga said his ministry would write off debts coffee cooperative societies owed the Cooperative Bank.

Tempers flared during the meeting as farmers allied to the Kathangariri tea factory company accused their directors of financial mismanagement.

They demanded that the directors be investigated.

Mr Ndwiga asked the Anti-Corruption Police Unit to immediately move in and investigate the alleged mismanagement.

He promised that another team of auditors from the ministry of Agriculture would be sent to the factory next week to assist in the investigations.