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Coffee sector set for better times as State plans industrial park

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Mwangi Kiunjuri.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

As the world prepares to celebrate International Coffee Day on Monday, the government plans to develop an industrial coffee park in Nairobi as a measure to revitalise the troubled sector.

The park will see coffee from all counties undergo full processing, from milling, roasting, liquoring, blending and even packaging as well as value addition.

The park, according to a joint-report compiled by the ministries of Agriculture and that of Trade, will be developed at the Coffee Directorate 20-acre piece of land in Nairobi.

However, due to its huge funding, the government plans to develop it through a public-private arrangement.

The report also indicates that the project has no time frame since the government is sourcing for partners as well as funds.

According to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, the revitalisation of the industry will be carried out by an inter-ministerial committee as ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

It will also be assisted by the county governments that produce coffee.

“Through this industrial park, we want to be like Germany which is now the leading exporters of coffee. To our advantage is that we not only produce farm coffee, but we also produce the best so we can comfortably brand package and brand ours for export,” he noted.

He stated that the park will enhance value addition through promotion of local consumption.

In 2010, local coffee consumption stood at 509.90 metric tonnes but rose in 2017 to 1,051.2 metric tonnes which translate to three per cent of the total production.

According to Mr Kiunjuri, the formal coffee brewing sector has experienced a remarkable growth from 14 coffee shops in 2001 to 399 presently.

Apart from developing an industrial coffee park, the two ministries have also come up with a measure on value addition that projects to profile coffee production areas into seven regions based on quality attributes.

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The government has also targeted to rehabilitate, modernise and automate 250 factories this year while another 250 are targeted for next year as well as develop coffee data base.

Mr Kiunjuri also noted that his ministry will establish coffee cherry advance payment scheme.

He said the government is targeting to boost the kitty for cherry advance fund to cover 50 percent of the amount of cherry harvested this year and 100 percent in the subsequent years at Sh15 per kilo.
The CS said Sh2.1 billion is in circulation towards this initiative.

“We will revive Kenya National Trading Corporation as well as modernise the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) after which we will embark on developing commodity exchange and warehouse receipt system,” he added.

Already the first phase of national coffee modernisation where the auction system has been upgraded has been finalised and a Cabinet memo on the registration of NCE as legal entity is in progress.

The team will oversee the revitalisation of the sector that has so far seen the country lose its former glory of a major producer of the ‘black gold’.

After the presidential directive, the two ministries formed an inter-ministerial committee to relook at the major proposed interventions along the coffee value chain and agree on which player is best suited to undertake each of the planned interventions.

The joint ad hoc committee planned interventions are in line with the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on coffee reforms.

It will also review coffee regulations, Co-operative Societies Act as well amendment of the Crops Act before it enacts the co-operatives policy.

Currently, the country produces 40,000 metric tonnes of clean coffee annually compared to the best time ever which was in 1989 when it hit 130,000 metric tonnes.

To attain its projected yield of 100,000 metric tonnes by 2022, the Ministry of Agriculture has pledged to distribute one million seedlings of Ruiru 11 and Batian to farmers and 1.5 million seedlings in the subsequent years up to 2022.

Kenya will hold the coffee celebration in Kirinyaga, a leading producer of the beverage. The event will be organised by International Coffee Organisation charged with the responsibility of promoting coffee production, consumption and growth of the coffee industry.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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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.

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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.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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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.

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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.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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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.

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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.

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