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Coffee prices up 18pc as Nairobi auction resumes

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Coffee prices improved 18 per cent at the auction in the first sale since trading resumed after a one-month recess on account of quality beans.

A market report by Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) indicates a 50-kilogramme bag of the produce fetched Sh13,000 in the sale held on Tuesday, up from Sh11,000 fetched in the session before the auction broke for recess in June.

According to the NCE, there has been an improvement in the quality of beans as the short-term crop from Eastern Kenya starts getting to the market.

“The price increase is attributed to some a lot of high-quality coffee that was brought to the auction for sale this week,” says chief executive Daniel Mbithi.

He says the price is expected to firm up a bit in the next sales.

The price of coffee at the auction had dipped to as low as Sh10,000 following a decline in quality as the main crop season from central Kenya ended ahead of June.

Kenya’s earnings from coffee dropped by Sh1.3 billion between October and March compared with the same period last year, on account of low international prices and reduced volumes at the auction.

The coffee is majorly traded at the New York Coffee Exchange where any change in price affects the local sales.

Kenya plans to raise the amount of coffee roasted locally from five to 10 per cent annually over the next five years even as production remains low.

The government will also start paying farmers part of earnings on monthly basis down from six months after the regulator began piloting the new payment system aimed at luring growers back to the once vibrant sub-sector.