Coffee farmers cooperatives are set to undergo massive reforms to deliver stakeholders better livelihoods, the Government has announced.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, plans are at an advanced stage to have all coffee farmers cooperatives governed in line with the new coffee sector regulations set to be tabled in parliament in two weeks.
The ministry revealed that the issues initially hampering their journey to implementation had all been ironed out.
If come into force, it is expected that many changes will ensure better management of the activities around the crop.
The announcement comes as farmers across the board have been abandoning coffee cultivation following the drastic fall in returns over the years.
Speaking at the sidelines of an event held to provide updates on state of preparations for the upcoming International Coffee Council (ICCO) meeting to be held in Nairobi from Monday, Kenya Coffee Subsector Reforms Committee Chairman Joseph Kieyah said the new sector regulations have farmer’s best interests at heart.
“The new industry regulations are based on the recommendations of the coffee reforms taskforce report. They highlight, among other things, the need to rigorously monitor farmer cooperatives so that the management delivers the better outcomes for farmers, as well as the farmers fund to enable them carry out their activities at much-subsidised cost,” he explained.
Further, Prof Kieyah said the regulations would modernise the national coffee trading platform, even as small scale farmers were looking at being required to be aggregated before being registered to enable them churn out sufficient volumes for export.
International coffee trading will also be conducted on the upcoming national commodity exchange platform.
“The regulations will also require farmers to focus on value addition, even as they are being supported to access the market,” he added.
Underscoring the need for heavy investments in marketing, ICCO Executive Director Jose Dauster Sette said marketing inefficiencies made it difficult for Kenya to convert the good reputation that its coffee had to better returns for all involved in production.
However, he said this is likely to change once the agencies concerned take seriously the implementation of key sector reforms also to be emphasized at length by the upcoming coffee stakeholders’ conference.
“The 124th session of ICCO meeting comes at a time the coffee world faced a crisis, as prices are at their lowest in 12 years, and production is almost half of what it was,” noted Prof Sette.
However, he said all is not lost after all since the five-day event aims at stimulating sector-wide dialogue on issues affecting the coffee industry in the country and the world at large.
“Top on the agenda is the sustainability of the coffee sector, where we, coupled with the issue of today’s low prices, aim to call into question the sustainability of coffee growing practices around the world and find working solutions,” he said.
However, Prof Sette noted that each country needed to tailor the solutions to their own unique challenges while ensuring that maximum benefits trickle down to growers.
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.