Kenya: DP Gachagua Defends Coffee Reforms Instituted By Govt

6 December 2023

Nairobi — Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has defended the coffee reforms instituted by the Government dismissing as misleading, the narrative by critics that the reforms are punitive.

Gachagua extended an invitation to coffee business companies in the United Kingdom for open discussions on the reforms in the subsector, to be able to understand what the changes are all about.

Speaking on Wednesday when he hosted the new United Kingdom High Commissioner to Kenya Neil Wigan at the Official Residence in Karen, the Deputy President said the reforms were not prohibitive or punitive as has been portrayed by those against the changes.

"We have explained what we are doing to many people and they have understood. There is a lot of activity now at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange. We would be happy if you can create a forum for us to talk to coffee companies in the UK so we explain to them what we are doing and they can share their ideas. We would be happy to have that engagement," said the DP.

He said the interventions in the subsector were to rescue it from collapsing following sustained low production over the years.

Mr Gachagua also said the Government is keen to ensure the success of the Kenya-United Kingdom 2020-2025 partnership which is crucial in deepening the relations between the two nations.

He said the two nations were eager to explore new areas of cooperation under the Partnership on top of strengthening the existing cordial ties.

The 2020-2025 Partnership focuses on key pillars on Mutual Prosperity, Security and Stability, Sustainable Development, Climate Change as well as People-To-People Interaction.

"Our ties date back to the 19th century when the British came to Kenya. Since then we have partnered in the development of our country in many sectors. This is a friendship and partnership we would like to see grow in strength," said the DP.

Mr Gachagua said Kenya and the UK had, for years, seen flourishing relations in many sectors including security cooperation, fighting against terrorism in the region, intelligence gathering and in trade among others.

"We have thwarted many attempted terrorist attacks because of our close cooperation with the United Kingdom," he added.

With trade between the countries still in favour of the UK, the Deputy President urged for more markets for Kenyan products, including tea and coffee.

"We want more exports to the United to ensure balanced trade between the two countries," he added.

Mr Wigan, who replaced former High Commissioner Ms Jane Marriot last July, appreciated the cordial ties saying his country was ready to strengthen them for the mutual benefit of the nations.

"The relations are strong, and we look to do much more in technological advancements, innovation, climate change, and renewable energy. We want to keep the security cooperation even stronger," he said.

The DP assured the envoy of President William Ruto's administration readiness to deal with hurdles frustrating British investors in a bid to boost foreign investment in the country.

"We are dealing with the red tape and bureaucracy to streamline the business environment to attract more investors in our country," said the DP who promised Mr Wigan that his office was always open for consultations on investment and trade opportunities in the country.

With the UK being one of the leading destinations of Kenyan tea and coffee, the Deputy President said the reforms in the sub-sectors were geared towards higher production in the farms and better income for farmers.

"We are ready to explain what we are doing in these sectors and show the positive outcomes," he said.

Mr Gachagua also appealed to the UK to help boost the efforts to mitigate the effects of the El Nino rains in the country.

Mr Wigan said more British investors were coming to Kenya saying they will continue to push for more.

"We would like a balanced trade that will benefit both sides," he said.

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