EXCLUSIVE: Runyenjes MP Eric Muchangi calls for increased surveillance of coffee factories to curb theft
A lawmaker has urged the government to provide security for coffee factories and collection centers in a bid to address cases of produce theft.
Runyenjes MP Mr Eric Muchangi has expressed his concern over the surge of theft cases within coffee-producing zones.
According to the lawmaker, who is aligned with the Kenya Kwanza administration, the government should implement security measures to oversee the protection of yields.
The recommendations come in the wake of the ongoing coffee reforms led by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.
“I urge the government to establish a framework to tackle coffee theft cases in factories, societies, and collection centers. The theft of produce is rampant in coffee-growing zones,” he told Nairobi News in an exclusive interview.
The lawmaker laments theft cases are on the rise, with farmers bearing the brunt of the losses.
“The losses affect the farmer directly, despite our concerted efforts to assist. The National Police Service (NPS) has a Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit (CIPU), and we are recommending that this unit be incorporated into the regulations for the purpose of safeguarding coffee produce,” Eric suggests.
According to the MP, the Officer Commanding the Police Division (OCPD) and the Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) in coffee-producing regions should deploy at least two police officers to guard the factories and centers, especially during coffee harvesting seasons.
On the night of August 25, 2023, over 30 bags of coffee, estimated to be worth Sh1.5 million, were stolen from the Ena New Runyenjes Cooperative Society.
The area MP condemned the incident, asserting that such schemes are likely orchestrated by insiders from the factories who collaborate with the thieves.
“The culprits travel from afar and collaborate with factory insiders. They have connections to the markets, and possess knowledge of the coffee’s specifics and quality that they seek. They wait until the coffee is dried and packed, then arrive with trucks and make off with hundreds of bags,” the legislator alleged.
During a consultative forum with Members of Parliament, Senators from the Coffee Caucus and Agriculture Committees, as well as key stakeholders in the coffee subsector last week at his official Karen Residence in Nairobi, DP Gachagua disclosed that the ongoing reforms also aim to cushion farmers, apart from fostering growth and enhancing market avenues.
With the initiatives in place, the Runyenjes MP emphasizes that the government should take complete responsibility for securing the coffee industry.
“If the government is willing to allocate funds to purchase coffee in case buyers do not turn up, it should also protect the produce,” he asserts.