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Fracas in coffee factory as farmers oust management

29 January 2014, 10:32 Joseph Njung’eh

Nyeri - A coffee farmers’ Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Kiamariga Coffee Factory in Nyeri county Tuesday turned chaotic after farmers ousted the factory's management committee.

Karatina police officers had a rough time controlling the over 1,000 rowdy farmers of Mathira North Coffee Farmers Cooperative Society who were threatened to destroy some of the equipments in the factory.

Chanting 'Haki Yetu' slogans, the farmers permanently closed the offices by welding metal rods at the factory entrance as they accused the management of misappropriating the society’s funds.

They hope to meet again on February 4, 2014 and pass a vote of no confidence against the ousted management committee.

The furious coffee farmers led by Johnson Mbaria complained that the management of the society has not paid 60 workers from five factories for the last eight months. The five coffee factories include Kahira-ini, Ruiru, Kiamariga, Hiriga and Kabiru-ini and have about 4,700 farmers.

Patrick Maina, a farmer, claimed that the management has continued to borrow loans from banks yet they do not pay the farmers. He also revealed that sometimes farmers have to content with less than KES 10 per kilogram pay.

However, the ousted management committee chaired by Simon Kirunyu and Secretary David Maina denied the allegations claiming that those who attended the meeting were local touts and not the genuine farmers, blaming rival groups for sponsoring them.

The two officials attributed low earnings to poor and low quality productions stating that the farmers should blame themselves for their woes.

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