While most coffee estates in and around Kiambu County have over the last two decades disappeared to pave way for real estate, a few are still standing.
In coming years, more might give way to the high-rise apartments coming up as Nairobi’s seams burst from increasing number of people working in the capital but residing in neighbouring counties, which form the larger Nairobi Metropolitan Area.
This is especially as the coffee industry continues to face major hurdles and help appears not to be forthcoming.
One coffee estate, however, thinks it can fend off the real estate money, with the owners saying that if they keep innovating around coffee, they will continue getting handsome returns.
The Fairview Coffee Estate earns more than many other farms in the country as it has managed to sell its coffee directly to major world buyers.
It recently started offering what it calls coffee tours, a fusion of agriculture and tourism, where it takes visitors through the coffee making process.
In future, Fairview plans to develop a coffee theme park within the 100-acre estate.
To bypass the middlemen at the coffee auction and sell directly to buyers in different markets, the farm sought certification for its coffee. When selling directly to buyers such as Starbucks, it can make double the amount that the same would fetch at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange.
SEE ALSO :Nyeri farmers to get coffee education
Earlier in the year, coffee was selling at about Sh450 per kilogramme, which would mean the same when sold directly to buyers can fetch Sh800. The average price came down to Sh232 per kilo in September.
“Our focus over the years has been coffee production. Over time the prices were good and stable but different factors have led to deterioration in pricing such as new entrants into the coffee industry, including Vietnam,” Fairview Estate Director Michael Warui told Weekend Business.
“Ten years ago we decided to look at what we could do to increase our earnings and the first step towards value addition was certifying our coffee so that we are able to sell it directly to overseas markets.
“Coffee from our estate is certified by Utz, Global Coffee Platform, Rainforest Alliance and Starbucks. This allows us to sell our coffee to main buyers overseas.”
Selling directly enables the farm to double the value of its top grades. “If we were to sell at the local coffee auction, we would sell at about $4 (Sh400) but if we sell it directly to international buyers, we get double the amount,” said Mr Warui.
SEE ALSO :Farmers sue Munya over KPCU sale
The estate sells as much as 90 per cent of its coffee directly to the buyers but this also depends on the season. This year, Warui said, the quality has been compromised by the weather patterns and resulted in lower sales to the major coffee buyers.
Inadequate rains earlier this year that hurt the quality as well as over-production by other coffee growing countries has seen the price drop by about 50 per cent to Sh450 in January to Sh232 in September.
The 110-year-old estate has in recent past started hosting tourists for coffee tours, a move it expects will help it increase earnings.
Warui said once they are able to attract enough visitors, the firm will develop a theme park to enable the guests experience more coffee-related activities.
“With the coffee tours, we are doing something similar to what South Africa’s Cape Town and Stellenbosch do with the wine industry. We take visitors and give them an experiential tour of what it entails to produce coffee from the farm level to processing and finally how it should be prepared and served,” he said.
SEE ALSO :County in talks with State over Sh400m
“Our vision is to grow to 70,000 visitors annually and when we secure that number, we will explore other businesses such as a coffee theme park.”
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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.