NCBA Clusa and Kenyan Co-ops sign MoU to boost coffee sector

The MoU aims to sustainably grow the Kenyan coffee sector

US co-op apex NCBA Clusa has signed a memorandum of understanding with Kenya’s Ministry of Co-operatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to “sustainably grow the Kenyan coffee sector and support the country’s co-operative enabling environment.”

Earlier this year, the Ministry adopted a five-year Coffee Development and Marketing Strategy to make the sector Kenya’s top foreign exchange earner and increase income for farmers and other value chain players. The strategy’s objectives include improving market access for growers and farmer co-operatives and increasing resilience and adaptability of the sub-sector to climate change.

Signed during the US-Kenya Business Forum, the memorandum will see NCBA Clusa and the Ministry work together to strengthen coffee production, processing, marketing and export. The partnership will seek to improve the quality of coffee production and processing while maximising profit and minimising risk for smallholder coffee farmers. Farmers and their co-ops will also be supported to access affordable credit, set up high-value national and international markets for Kenyan coffee and access the global coffee value chain.

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Agriculture plays a key role in Kenya’s economy accounting for 22% of its GDP. Coffee is one of the country’s key crops, being cultivated in 33 counties by 800,000 smallholder farmers who are organised into an estimated 500 co-operatives.

The crop provides livelihoods for five million people. Yet, in recent decades Kenya, witnessed a significant decline in coffee production. 

NCBA Clusa has worked in Kenya since 1963, with a continuous presence since 2001. Its projects have focused on enhancing democracy and governance, food security, market access, youth development and co-op enabling environments. The apex has worked with the Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Kusco) and the African Confederation of Cooperative Savings and Credit Associations (Accosca), to advance access to financing and promote financial literacy and inclusion. It has also helped draft enabling legislation that informed the Cooperative Bill currently being considered by the Parliament of Kenya, as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (Usaid) Cooperative Development Program. 

Under the MoU, the two parties commit to advancing Kenya’s national co-op policy and enabling environment.