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Waiguru welcomes Ruto’s Ksh6.9B debt write-off for coffee farmers

Tuesday, June 4th, 2024 19:24 | By
Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru presides over the Madaraka day celebrations at the Mutitu Polytechnic Grounds on June 1, 2024. Waiguru has welcomed Ruto's bailout of coffee farmers. PHOTO/@AnneWaiguru/X.
Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru presides over the Madaraka day celebrations at the Mutitu Polytechnic Grounds on June 1, 2024. PHOTO/

Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, welcomed President William Ruto's promise to offset debts owed by coffee farmers.

On May 27, 2024, Ruto told Kenyans in the US he would write off the Ksh6.9b owed by the coffee farmers in a bid to revamp the crop's farming in the country.

"The Ksh6.9b debt write-off for coffee cooperatives and allocation of Ksh4 billion Cherry fund by the President will positively impact the county’s production, doubling coffee yields from 50,000-102,000 metric tonnes per year," Waiguru said.

Ruto promised to marshall the cabinet to approve a budget proposal to offset the debt and hand a reprieve to the struggling coffee industry.

Ruto to coffee farmers

"In the next Cabinet meeting, we will approve a write-off of Sh6 billion to our farmers so that we can reduce debts on coffee farming," Ruto said.

Ruto added at the time that the write-off was a shot in the arm for the over 600,000 coffee farmers in the country who stand to see better revenues as a result.

Ruto also noted that his promise includes setting up a Ksh2b fund to support cherry farmers, and providing financial cushioning while waiting for coffee auctions, a move aimed at easing the immediate financial pressures on the farmers.

The funds promised are currently contained in the budgetary proposals for the next financial year that are pending before the National Assembly for approval.

Mt Kenya coffee farmers

This came after a section of Mount Kenya Members of Parliament urged Ruto to offset the debt to encourage coffee farming in the region.

Kigumo MP Joseph Munyoro had previously implored Ruto to extend the same courtesy that revived the sugar industry when Ruto wrote off the industry's Ksh117b debt in 2023.

“Mt Kenya is a coffee growing zone but farmers are faced with many challenges. I am asking the government to set aside Sh6 billion for the purposes of bailing the sector,” Munyoro said.

The cabinet would later on October 9, 2023, approve the debt settlement after both the National Assembly and Senate agreed on the matter.

President William Ruto shakes hands with Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru. PHOTO/@AnneWaiguru/X.

The same month, Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui stated that the state was doing a forensic audit of the debts owed by coffee farmers before a bailout could happen.

“We are currently undertaking forensic audit data we have received from Co-operative Bank, co-operative unions, and commodity fund. The aim of the verification process is to ascertain the true picture in terms of the amount overdue and whether there are debts that were waived last time,” Chelugui noted.

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