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How has Kenya dealt with COVID-19?

The Kenya Coffee Platform held its first all-stakeholder virtual update in an effort to create a channel for participants to share their experiences during this trying time.

According to GCP Kenya Country Manager George Watene, the meeting provided an opportunity for participants to review the effect of COVID-19 on the Kenya coffee sub-sector and included an overview of production and policy changes, the effect of COVID on coffee shops and baristas, as well as insights into coffee farmers' challenges. 

The webinar, which was attended by 134 participants, included representation of all coffee value chain actors in Kenya including the National Government, County Governments, NGOs, coffee unions, coffee producers, standard bodies, farm input sellers, and consultants. According to Watene, the meeting was very inclusive, and no actor was left out. 

"COVID-19 has only exacerbated existing challenges," said Watene. "We cannot depend on incremental change to solve exponential problems like the one we are currently facing. We need exponential change."

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For some, the financial implications are already apparent. The cost of production for the four regions currently in picking season may be more this year due to social distancing and fewer working hours for staff as they try to be within the dusk to dawn curfew. In light of this, Watene said it was important to encourage stakeholders to stay safe in this period, adding that there was a key message throughout the meeting: "We need to work together to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on coffee production."

Following the success of the meeting, there has been enthusiasm for monthly meetings to allow stakeholders to be up-to-date and share solutions.

Meeting summary available here