The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Othaya Coffee Farmers Lose Millions to Thieves

OTHAYA Farmers Cooperative Society is losing millions of shillings in coffee thefts and illegal dealings. Society chairman Newton Mwangi yesterday said the society lost coffee worth Sh5 million in the last harvesting season. He said most of the coffee has been stolen in Kamoko and Karima areas.

The society, which has 19 coffee factories, has called upon the government to boost security to protect the coffee farmers. A farmer in Kamoko Coffee Factory, Andrew Githae, claimed that coffee beans were stolen last year in the drying beds and nobody has since been arersted. Mwangi protested the disappearance of coffee exhibits from Othaya police station. He said it was unfortunate that the case has since been dismissed after police failed to produce exhibits which involved 11 bags of coffee worth Sh200,000.

The society is now calling upon the government to set up an inquiry to establish the disappearance of the exhibits. "We are very disappointed over the disappearance of a vehicle, weighting scales and receipts. The exhibits were to be produced in court in a criminal case NO. 140/011 involving three suspects who had been arrested while hawking coffee last November," said the chairman.

The society now claims the case has been dismissed after the prosecutor informed the court that the exhibits could not be traced. "Were these exhibits deliberately released or were they stolen while the case is still pending in court? If they were stolen, how come the said vehicle is still operating within Othaya township? Are the police not supporting illegal coffee deals and thefts by releasing the exhibits before the cases are determined?" he posed.

Mwangi said despite the government assisting the coffee farmers, some security agencies are not cooperating and this might demoralise the coffee farmers and hence increase poverty. Nyeri South police boss Adiel Nyange promised that he will give a report once he establishes that the exhibits are missing.

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