A WOMAN PICKS COFFEE BERRIES. COFFEE EARNINGS GREW FROM SH19.6 BILLION TO SH21.1 BILLION IN THE CROP PERIOD ENDED OCTOBER 2016. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Kenya targets specialty coffee symposium to double US sales
Kenya is eyeing the upcoming Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) symposium to double the sales to the US by tapping the premium price that the American market pays for the beverage.
The SCAA exhibition, which will bring together over 15,000 people across the world will be held in Seattle, US next month.
The US is Kenya’s third largest market for coffee, but it pays a higher price for the commodity compared to any other country.
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.
Germany is number one buyer followed by Belgium.
“One major advantage with the US market is their ability to pay premium coffee prices comparatively. Whereas Germany is the largest buyer of Kenyan coffee, US has been leading in terms of the average price paid per 50 kilogramme bag of coffee,” said head of coffee directorate Kiplimo Melly.
Mr Melly noted that during the conference, Kenyan traders are expected to sign new contracts with their American counterparts for both direct and indirect purchases in what will help to boost volumes to America.
About 85 per cent of the Kenyan coffee is sold through the Nairobi auction with the remaining percentage sold directly to buyers in overseas.
The government has been pushing for more direct sales to enable growers earn from their crop by eliminating middlemen who exploit farmers when their crop goes through the auction.
Kenya’s earnings from coffee exports went up by 7.8 per cent in 2016 compared with the previous year, in what was attributed to an increase of direct sales for specialty coffee.
Statistics from the directorate indicate that earnings grew from Sh19.6 billion ($191 million) in 2015 to Sh21.1 billion ($206 million) in the past crop year that ended in October 2016.
“Our farmers should benefit from higher prices resulting from direct sales to buyers, which is going to eliminate intermediary parties along the value chain,” said director-general of Agriculture Food Authority (AFA) Alfred Busolo.
Kenya was chosen as a portrait country in this year’s exhibition making it the focus of the activities in the coffee fair that starts on April 20.
As a portrait country, roasters from US, Hong Kong, China, Myanmar, and Germany among other states travelled to Kenya last year where they interacted with growers to learn more about the Kenyan coffee.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Symposium and Exhibition, organised by the Specialty Coffee Association of America and is one of the largest single market avenues where coffee producers meet buyers and consumers of specialty coffee.
It is held every year.