Stakeholders in Kenya's vibrant coffee sector are calling on the government to provide increased support for the training of baristas and mixologists.
Gov't urged to invest in barista and mixology training to boost employment
Government urged to invest in barista and mixology training to boost employment
They say that the support should be undertaken through a government-private partnership, to create more skilled jobs in response to the high demand for these professionals both locally and internationally.
During the inaugural graduation ceremony of the Worthstart Barista and Mixology Institute on November 11, stakeholders highlighted the success of the program.
Notably, half of the graduating class has already secured lucrative positions abroad in prestigious five-star hotels and cruise ships.
These graduates are earning more than Sh300,000, showcasing the potential for significant economic impact through short, focused courses.
The optimism expressed by the youth is particularly noteworthy, considering many had previously pursued traditional bachelor's degrees only to face years of unemployment.
"A half of the class has already secured jobs abroad in Five Star hotels and cruise ships earning hundreds of thousands," Institute founder Zoey Naik.
Strengthening the value chain has the potential to bolster the economy, improve the lives of coffee farmers and impact the country's currency by reinforcing the weakening shilling through increased foreign exchange.
The call for government support echoes the need for sustained investment in education and skill development tailored to the evolving demands of the job market.
Kenya is one of the world's leading coffee producers, with an estimated 800,000 Kenyan farmers, 70% of whom are smallholders, producing coffee.
However, the coffee sector in Kenya has faced challenges such as weak systems, sub-optimal extension services, and low global coffee prices against the rising cost of production and living.
As a result, Kenya's acreage under coffee has declined by 30% between 1990 and 2020, and production has dropped by 70%.
Despite being the second most populous continent, Africa has low coffee consumption, with only 30% of the population consuming the product.
In Kenya, over 95% of coffee is exported to the international market, and stakeholders have raised concerns over low consumption of coffee in Africa.
To address this, Kenya has started promoting consumption by opening up coffee houses at universities, and the Agriculture and Food Authority is negotiating with five more universities to join.
The Kenyan government has announced plans to inject Sh4 billion into the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union to boost the coffee sector.
Additionally, the government and coffee stakeholders are working on modalities to ensure smooth milling and marketing to guarantee that the sector operates smoothly.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is leading the latest push for coffee reforms, including reforming the Nairobi Coffee Exchange and boosting coffee farming in the country.
In addition to supporting the coffee sector, the Kenyan government has been exporting labor to create employment opportunities for Kenyans abroad.
For example, the government has signed agreements with countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates to export labour.
These agreements aim to create employment opportunities for Kenyans and reduce unemployment in the country.
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