Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has revealed that plans are in high gear to rein in cartels scuttling the Mt Kenya Region's coffee sector.
Speaking on Sunday in Othaya, Nyeri County, the DP earmarked four cartels who he claimed were creating an artificial crisis as a plan to revolt against the changes instituted in the sector by President William Ruto's government.
To prevent the power imposed by the cartels on local coffee farmers, Gachagua noted that a bill barring all millers from serving as marketers and vice versa was already prepared for tabling in Parliament.
"The cartels are entrenched and they are few. They buy coffee at throw away prices and sell in foreign countries at exorbitant prices," noted the second in command.
"The changes are on course. Amendment of the law will be tabled in Parliament soon. It proposes, among others, that if you are a coffee miller, you cannot be a marketer or a seller. It is one man, one job."
If approved, businessmen doubling as millers and marketers will see a substantial reduction in their annual revenues.
Gachagua indicated that the cartel, which he noted were not more than four players, is deeply entrenched in the subsector and that it is even attempting to sabotage the Government's plan by creating an artificial crisis in the coffee industry.
One of the reforms being fought by the cartel, he stated, is the revival of the New KPCU and the Coffee Board of Kenya.
"They (cartels) have united and are trying to create an artificial crisis and propaganda that because of the reforms, the Kenyan coffee has been boycotted, which is a lie. They are moving across various offices," he explained.
"I urge the farmers to be patient because it is not an easy or simple fight. It is not for the faint hearted. battle that is not simple and not for the faint hearted. It is rough. They are boycotting the coffee to sabotage the reforms."
As part of the reforms, Gachagua travelled to Colombia to negotiate a deal aimed at benefitting farmers from the region.
During his speech, the DP noted that Ruto-led reforms countrywide had seen sectors like tea and milk improve, especially in the payment of bonuses to farmers.
Regarding milk, Gachagua revealed the government is working on measures that will increase the farm-gate price of the commodity to Sh60 per litre.
"The reforms that I was tasked to push by President William Ruto in coffee, tea and milk, have started to bear fruit. We got a high bonus this year, which has not been witnessed earlier. We are doing well," he added.
"For milk, we are not badly off as well. The Government will push the farm gate price to a minimum of Sh60 per litre."