KNA Meru County Commissioner Karuku Ngumo has issued stringent measures to be followed by all coffee factories in the County to curb cases of coffee theft.
All the factory chairpersons, managers, and watchmen will be required to undergo a vetting process to be conducted by Deputy County Commissioners (DCC) of their respective areas.
This, according to Mr Ngumo, will help in understanding the background information and integrity of each of the three persons.
Addressing coffee factory managers and chairpersons at Kaaga Social Hall during a meeting to deliberate on the issue, Mr. Ngumo, said he was optimistic that if adhered to, the measures will go a long way in minimising the cases in the County.
“This information will be mandatory and it is from it that we will be able to find out individuals with questionable characters.
This year alone, about 300 bags of coffee worth Sh5.8million were stolen from four factories with the recent one taking place last week.
All Factory management teams will also be required to inform the nearest Officer Commanding Police Stations (OCS), when they have coffee beans in their stores, so that patrols can be done within the factory premises to avert possible theft incidences.
The OCSs will inform DCCs who will in turn brief the County Commissioner on the same.
“In case of a theft incident in a given coffee factory and it turns out that the management had not informed OCS on the availability of the coffee beans, the chairperson, manager and the watchmen will be arrested and be held for three days in police cells as investigations take place,” Mr Ngumo said.
The County Commissioner who was accompanied by the County Security Team also urged factory management teams to improve on security in their premises in order to discourage theft.
“You don’t need to be told to put security lights, install CCTV cameras or employ adequate and qualified guards in your premises to reduce theft cases. These are common measures that should at least be in place in every factory to avert losses to coffee farmers,” said Mr Ngumo.
He directed factories to ensure they sell their coffee once it is ready rather than keeping it in stores for a long time, a factor that was encouraging theft.
Meru County Cooperatives Director, Mugambi Sandi, expressed confidence that the measures will be a panacea to the issue of theft that has rendered some farmers poor despite enormous efforts they have put in their farms.
He assured that all the measures will be implemented in all the factories in the County to ensure farmers’ produce was secure.