Chuka Coffee farmers to hold protests over mismanagement
Some Muiru coffee farmers’ cooperative society members in Chuka Igambang’ombe constituency have threatened to hold protests at the Tharaka Nithi County headquarters in Kathwana on Wednesday over what they described as mismanagement at the factory.
The farmers faulted the current leadership of sourcing loans totaling Sh.10 million without their consent and not paying terminal benefits to some of its employees who retired last year.
One of them who sought anonymity said they had already drafted a petition that they will present to Deputy Governor, Francis Kagwima, who is in charge of cooperatives.
The frustrated farmers complained of the poor payment rates at the society that had forced about 200 members to move to the nearby well-paying factories.
“Our factory has lost quite a big number of farmers to nearby factories that are well paying because of the constant Sh.30 per kilo every season,” complained the farmers
On his part, the Society’s Secretary Manager, Edward Mutwiri claimed that the irritated farmers were leaders in the former regime suspended unanimously by members in 2015.
“The farmers are under influence of three others who have been spreading propaganda and dividing our farmers, the same people who were thrown out,” Mutwiri said.
Mutwiri said the region has for the past three seasons produced a class four grade cherry which cannot pay well compared to other coffee growing areas.
“The quality of the coffee our farmers are producing is very poor and they are producing small quantities making it hard to get good returns,” the secretary manager said
He however, admitted that the society had borrowed loans amounting to Sh.9.3 million and had been used to cater for its normal operations among them payment of its employees.
“The society only gets Sh.2.5 million which is not enough to pay our employees as the wage bill stands at Sh.4 million annually,” Mutwiri added.
On retired employees’ benefits, Mutwiri admitted that they had not been paid but assured that they will soon be paid.
By Kenneth Marangu