Kenya's coffee farmers are on the brink of a groundbreaking opportunity that could significantly boost their incomes, with plans for a direct partnership with Starbucks, the world's largest coffee chain.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has revealed that the Kenyan government, backed by the US government and American Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman, is spearheading this potentially transformative deal.
Gachagua highlighted the role of Ambassador Meg Whitman in facilitating discussions with Starbucks, stating, "Ambassador Meg Whitman has planned coffee buyers in America called Starbucks to meet with the President so that they can be buying our coffee directly."
The potential benefits of such a partnership are substantial, as Gachagua expressed his confidence that Starbucks will continue to purchase Kenyan coffee in its original form, a prospect that could more than double the incomes of Kenyan coffee farmers.
Gachagua further emphasized the strong demand for Kenyan coffee in the United States.
"The Americans love our coffee. We have told them that what they are getting is the blended version. We have invited them to come and take our coffee in its original form, and I am confident that they will be buying our coffee forever," Gachagua stated.
This move could open up new avenues for Kenyan coffee in the international market, offering greater profitability for the country's coffee industry.
The Deputy President also shed light on the challenges faced by Kenyan coffee farmers, who have long struggled with low incomes due to an inefficient system that often benefits middlemen.
"The people who buy our coffee is not the Americans; it is bought by one European nation, and then they sell it, but they do not even have a single coffee plant. They are just brokers, and now we want to remove them," Gachagua stated.
By bypassing these intermediaries and establishing a direct connection with Starbucks, Kenyan coffee growers stand to reap significant financial rewards.
Starbucks, headquartered in Seattle, Washington, operates as a roaster, marketer, and retailer of specialty coffee.
The company offers an array of coffee-related products, including packaged and single-serve coffees, teas, and ready-to-drink beverages.
Starbucks also produces and sells bottled coffee drinks and a line of ice creams.
In a bid to bolster the coffee sector and ensure more equitable returns for Kenyan farmers, Gachagua revealed that the Cabinet has approved an additional allocation of Sh4 billion to support coffee growers.
This funding injection will see coffee farmers receiving Sh80 per kilogram of cherry, a substantial increase from the current Sh20 per kilogram as an advance payment.
The potential partnership between Kenyan coffee farmers and Starbucks signifies a significant step towards a fairer and more prosperous coffee industry in Kenya.
With the support of the government and the collaboration of key stakeholders, this landmark deal could bring about a brighter future for Kenyan coffee growers and their cherished coffee beans on the international stage.