US overtakes Germany to become Kenya's top coffee buyer with Sh7bn purchase

American buyers currently pay Sh500 per kilogramme of coffee compared to Germany’s Sh300 for the same quantity.

In 2015/2016, US purchase of Kenyan coffee shot up by 75 per cent to Sh7 billion ($67m), effectively overtaking Germany and Belgium as the top buyer.

Statistics from the Coffee Directorate puts America at the top both in terms of price offered for a kilogramme and quantities bought.

“The US was the leading market in 2016/2017 coffee sales. Notable improvements were realised soon after April 2017 and sustained to date,” says the directorate.

In 2016, US bought 8.9 million kilos of Kenyan coffee which is seven per cent of Kenya’s annual export of 46,000 tonnes.

US bought the 8.9 million kilos at Sh47,998 ($466) for a 60 kilo bag compared to Germany which imported 8.1 million kilogrammes of coffee worth Sh4.3 billion ($41m).

In 2015/2016 Washington bought 6.1 million kilos at Sh39,552 ($384) for the same quantity.

Moreover, compared to Kenya’s traditional markets based in Europe, America also pays premium price for Kenyan coffee.

American buyers currently pay Sh500 ($5) per kilogramme of coffee compared to Germany’s Sh300 ($3) for the same quantity.

The upsurge in Kenyan coffee uptake in America move comes barely five months after Kenya put a strong case for its specialty coffee during the coffee symposium in America where the country was given a “portrait status” making it the main focus point at the exhibition.

Due to its unique taste, Kenyan coffee is normally used by buyers to blend with other coffees of lower quality.

Despite, the uptake of Kenyan coffee around the world the country is still missing out on a huge chunk of the revenue and hasn’t really exploited the crop.

Just five per cent of Kenya’s coffee is exported as roasted and 95 per cent is exported as cleaned beans meaning the country is missing out on the added value of the cash croup.

Kenya recently launched an ambitious incentive programme to exploit the crop by  seeking to raise the amount of locally roasted coffee to 10 per cent annually from the current  five over the next five years.

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