By Getrude Matayo
Eight coffee factories affiliated to Rumukia Cooperative society in Nyeri are on the verge of being auctioned by their lenders over unpaid debts amounting to 163 million shillings.
The debt dates back to the 2013/14 financial year when a miller owed the society more than 74 million shillings for Cherry and Mbuni. The society, on the other hand, owed farmers more than 85 million shillings.
Instead of remitting the money the society for payments, Kenya Cooperative Coffee Exporters (KCCE) paid creditors (Sasini) 48 million shillings and Kenya Cooperative Coffee Mills (KCCM) 25 million shillings leaving farmers with nothing.
Through Green Bell Auctioneers, Taifa Sacco seeks to reclaim farmers’ assets in all the factories under the cooperative to offset the debts that have pushed it to its knees.
The auctioneers have been ordered to collect farmers’ parchment worth 16 million shillings, weighing machine worth 400,000 shillings, pulping machine, and other office equipment worth 1.2 million shillings in order to recoup the Sacco’s money.
According to the sources, over the years, the management of the cooperatives has been borrowing money from lenders to pay farmers while selling their produce to offset loans.
Due to poor payment for their parchment and resorted to hawking it, farmers from the cooperative had already stopped delivering their produce to the factories.
Other farmers uprooted their coffee plantation while others chose to deliver their produce to better-paying factories in neighboring sub-counties
“County government should ensure that the management committees strictly adhered to the procedure of borrowing and operate with properly approved borrowing powers as stipulated by the cooperative Society rules” The report stated
A forensic audit conducted last year showed the borrowings were secured against land titles as well as coffee proceeds.