Kenya is set to establish warehouses in key global hubs, including Seattle in the U.S., Antwerp in Belgium, and Dubai, with the aim of optimising the sale of the country’s coffee to international buyers, to boost local farmers’ earnings.

Cooperative Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui disclosed the strategic locations, highlighting Seattle, the headquarters of Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee house, as a pivotal point for targeting a substantial market.

Mr Chelugui stressed the established reputation of these global coffee warehouses, citing them as preferred destinations for numerous roasters and coffee shops.

The move is designed to streamline the selling and delivery process of Kenyan coffee into the market. Currently, coffee purchased through the Nairobi coffee exchange is transported to these recognised warehouses by buyers.

Belgium stands out as Kenya’s primary coffee buyer, having imported beans worth $64 million (Ksh7.4 billion) in the year to June 2022, marking a 17 percent increase from the preceding season.

The United States follows closely, with coffee purchases totaling $62.3 million (Ksh7.19 million), signifying a significant surge from the previous $37.4 million (Ksh4 billion).

Mr Chelugui underscored the importance of this initiative in preserving the unique identity of Kenyan coffee in the global market.

He expressed concerns that the current mingling of Kenyan coffee with products from other nations dilutes its distinctiveness, resulting in a loss of premium value due to blending.

Addressing a Cooperative Alliance of Kenya forum, Mr Chelugui explained that positioning warehouses in these strategic locations enables buyers to access the commodity conveniently, eliminating the need for them to travel to Kenya for purchases.

This approach aims to ensure that Kenyan coffee is marketed and sold as authentically Kenyan, thereby maintaining its originality and premium status.

Chelugui drew parallels with other coffee-producing nations such as Colombia, Brazil, and Jamaica, noting their successful adoption of similar strategies.

He affirmed that this innovative marketing approach is a step towards establishing a distinct presence for Kenyan coffee in the global market and outlined plans to cautiously explore its effectiveness with a limited quantity before full implementation.