Kenya is on the brink of establishing a direct coffee supply partnership with Starbucks, the largest coffee chain in the United States. This collaboration hinges on a potential agreement between President William Ruto’s administration and Starbucks’ leadership.
During a gathering at the PCEA Mihuti in Mukurweini, Nyeri County, last Sunday, the Deputy President mentioned that US Ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman, had expressed willingness to facilitate the introduction of Kenyan coffee to Starbucks.
“We thank President William Ruto for his intervention. We had a meeting with American Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman and she agreed to introduce our coffee to the world’s largest coffee chain Starbucks,” Gachagua stated.
He continued, “They will be buying our coffee directly. Some of the buyers have been using our coffee to blend their products and increase the quality of coffee produced from other countries. We want to remove the middlemen and brokers from the chain.”
The objective of this initiative is to eliminate intermediaries from the global trade of high-quality products and boost farmers’ incomes through direct transactions. The Deputy President emphasized that the government’s move to provide coffee farmers with a Ksh4 billion advance payment and encourage international coffee buyers to directly purchase Kenyan coffee has thwarted the efforts of cartels.
The Deputy President elaborated that the reforms in the coffee industry have been met with opposition from brokers and intermediaries, who have historically earned higher profits than the farmers themselves.
“They have been buying the produce at a low price, selling at high prices and retaining all the profits. We have been asking them to share the profits but are opposed to it. Instead, they conspired to boycott Kenyan coffee, creating an artificial crisis in an attempt to coerce the government into abandoning the reforms,” noted the deputy president.
“This time we are determined. The government has set aside Sh4 billion and there is another Sh2 billion to buy coffee. The Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives is working on modalities of how the money will reach farmers directly.”
Largest coffee retailer in the United States
Starbucks, a publicly traded corporation, holds the title of the largest coffee retailer in the United States, operating an extensive network of 16,095 stores. This places Starbucks ahead of competitors such as Dunkin’ Donuts (9,508 stores) and Panera Bread (2,139 stores).
Starbucks proudly displays its global reach on its official website, boasting that it sources approximately 3 percent of the world’s coffee supply. Among the various coffee types it acquires for its renowned products, Kenyan coffee occupies a special place. Starbucks offers a selection of Kenyan coffee brands, including Kenya Kangunu Clover, Iced Clover Brewed, Kenya Baragwi Whole Bean Coffee, and Clover Starbucks Reserve Mount Kenya Baragwi.