Farmers confiscate coffee factory equipment over delayed payments
A section of farmers allied to Kanjahi Coffee factory in Murang’a on Tuesday stormed the factory’s premises and confiscated equipment in protest over delayed payments.
The irate farmers took away weighing machines among other portable equipment to force the factory management to push the miller to release their payment amounting to Sh8 million for the coffee they had delivered.
The farmers took the action after a meeting which was convened in the factory failed to resolve the dispute that could have seen their payments released.
They complained that they have delivered a parchment of more than 110, 000 kilos to the coffee factory but due to uncalled for wrangles, the miller who bought their coffee could not release their payments.
Exchange of bitter words hit the air in the meeting that was convened by Mathioya Sub-county Cooperative officer after the farmers and management failed to agree.
The factory chairman Mr. Simon Wanjohi blamed some farmers of creating the dispute after their plan to have the factory split from Rwaikamba cooperative society failed.
“The dispute is occasioned by a section of farmers who are advocating the split of the factory from Rwaikamba cooperative society,” the chairman maintained.
Wanjohi argued that a team led by five shareholders wrote to the miller demanding withholding of Sh8 million payments until their demands are addressed, to allow the 700 farmers split from the larger Rwaikamba society which has six factories.
The chairman said after the farmers realized the meeting to deliberate on their payment had failed; they moved to the factory and took away the equipment.
He promised to spearhead talks that will solve the dispute and see farmers get their payment admitting that some of the farmers were experiencing financial crisis.
Mathioya Deputy County Commissioner Mr. Charles Laboso said his office was aware of the dispute and he plans to hold a meeting with the warring parties. “My office will convene a meeting at the factory and try to solve the disputes between the two parties,” added Laboso.
Rwaikamba co-operative society, the largest in Mathioya Sub-county, comprises of Kanjahi, Kahiriga, Karuyu, Kagumo and Kahete coffee factories.
By Bernard Munyao