NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – THE European Union (EU) Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, has urged Kenya to improve the competitiveness of export products through disease control and research.
This, he said, would promote market access and productivity of
Hogan said the new coffee varieties had led to increased production and improved productivity, which had in turn led to increasing national coffee export revenues for Kenya.
“The importance of coffee to the world economy cannot be underestimated. Coffee remains a key industry for the Kenyan economy and remains one of Kenya’s most important agricultural export products. The EU understands these vital facts. Through various initiatives, we have shown our commitment to enhancing the performance of Kenya’s coffee sector so as to increase its productivity and market competitiveness.”
Hogan spoke after of the Coffee Research Institute during the ongoing tenth World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference, where the EU is leading a central agenda on export competition in agriculture.
The EU is the primary market for Kenyan coffee beans, which grew by 17 percent in 2014 to U$254,2 million (Sh 2,6 billion) due to improved production and higher prices. This earned farmers $145 million at an average price of $ 212 per 50 kilogramme bag.
In 2013, the Coffee Research Institute, formerly Coffee Research
Foundation, received EU funding through the Kenya Rural Development Programme (KRDP) to promote capacity building in coffee growing counties.
The funding costs EUR 2 million for a four year period and targets
cooperatives in 32 coffee growing counties in Kenya.
Past EU funding has been used to develop two new coffee varieties, Ruiru 11 and Batian. The varieties have the aim of increasing yields at lower costs due to their increased resistance to the major coffee diseases- Coffee Berry Disease and Coffee Leaf Rust.
It is estimated that 6 million Kenyans are employed directly or indirectly in the coffee industry.
– CAJ News