SEATTLE, U.S. – U.S specialty roasters are expected to raise coffee purchases from Kenya by a quarter to Sh3.5 billion annually after the country showcased its produce in the ongoing symposium in Seattle, US.
Coffee Directorate made a pitch for Kenya’s specialty coffee during the exhibition to have the US, which pays a premium price for the commodity, increase its uptake 25 per cent.
America buys seven per cent of Kenya’s annual export of 46,000 metric tonnes but it pays highly compared to the other top buyers.
US buyers currently pay Sh500 a kilogramme compared to Germany that is the leading importer but pays Sh300 for the same quantity, according to the directorate.
“We have pushed for increased sale from the American roasters and they have already given an undertaking to increase the sales from what they currently buy,” said Agriculture Cabinet secretary Willy Bett.
During the financial year 2015/2016, American roasters paid Sh30,000 per 50 kilogramme bag compared with Sh25,000 that Germany offered and Sh24,000 that Belgium gave for the same quantity.
The Coffee Directorate is exhibiting Kenya’s specialty coffee at the annual global coffee meeting that brings together key stakeholders in the sector.
Kenya was chosen as a portrait country in this year’s exhibition in Seattle making it the focus of the activities at the coffee trade fair that started on April 19.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America Symposium and Exhibition, organised by the Specialty Coffee Association of America is one of the single largest market avenues where coffee producers meet buyers and consumers of specialty coffee.
But even as Kenya seeks to expand its market, productivity of coffee per bush has dropped from 10kg to two kilos and the government is trying to woo farmers back into farming.
Farmers are disgruntled with poor management forcing them to uproot coffee and plant other crops.
Roasters at the symposium said Kenya’s coffee has a comparative advantage over other countries due to its uniqueness in taste, saying they would increase the volumes to match growing demand from their customers.
Most of the Kenya’s coffee is exported as cleaned beans and just five per cent is roasted hence missing out on the added value from selling roasted and packaged coffee.