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Coffee Farmers in Kenya Turn to Other Crops Because of Drought, Low Prices on Global Market

Ikonya says he is continuously battling tree diseases and he spends $200 a month to maintain his coffee farm

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A farmer examines his coffee plantation in Kirinyaga near Nyeri, Kenya, March 14, 2018. VOA

Kenya is the fifth largest coffee-producing country in Africa, but that might change. Coffee farmers in the East African nation are turning to other crops because of drought and low prices on the international market.

Joseph Wainaina, 71, started farming coffee a year after Kenya gained independence. As a teenager, he loved to farm, and for years he enjoyed good returns. But recently, global coffee prices kept dropping, and coffee trees became expensive to maintain.

“I want to cut down coffee trees and forget about it. So that I can I continue with other projects like dairy farming, pig farming, and even poultry farming, these days even chicken makes good returns,” said Wainaina. In recent years more small-scale coffee farmers in Kenya have been uprooting their coffee trees.

Those who have a sentimental attachment to coffee and want to continue farming it must incorporate other crops to make a decent living. Morris Ikonya is still growing coffee, but to make ends meet for his family, he is forced to grow other crops.

“I cannot live off coffee right now. I have to diversify and do other things, and that’s how I went into mushroom farming, and I went into pumpkin farming to try and diversify the source of income,” he said.

Ikonya says he is continuously battling tree diseases and he spends $200 a month to maintain his coffee farm. The price of coffee on the global market has dropped up to 30 cents a kilo. If they are lucky, farmers get 70 cents per kilogram.

coffee farmers
A Kenyan coffee farmer sits on drying nets at an abandoned coffee factory near Nyeri, Kenya, March 15, 2018. VOA

Joseph Kieyah of Kenya’s Coffee Task Committee, a body charged with policy formulation in the sector, says they are trying to help farmers increase production and coffee tree yields.

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“We also proposed a three-year subsidy program again with the intention of trying to assist the farmer to reduce the production cost. Increased production such a way that, we are talking about increasing production from two kilos cherry per tree about eight,” he said.

The reforms in the coffee sector may have come too late for some farmers. Some, like Wainaina, say only an increase in global prices could convince them to continue producing coffee. (VOA)

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Samsung Display Maintains its Dominant Position in the Global Smartphone Display Market

China’s Huawei also launched premium smartphones last year with the high-end screen

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samsung
To get ahead in the fast-changing tech industry, Samsung said it will expand investment in burgeoning tech segments to propel growth. Wikimedia Commons

Samsung Display Co. maintained its dominant position in the global smartphone display market in the first quarter as more handset makers adopted OLED panels for their premium products, a market researcher has said.

The display making unit of Samsung Electronics shipped $3.4 billion worth of smartphone displays in the January-March period, accounting for 40.2 per cent of the total market share, according to the data by IHS Markit.

The Korean firm’s market share shed 6.6 percentage points from a year earlier in the first quarter, but it was able to hold over 40 per cent of the share for eight consecutive months, as per data, Yonhap news agency reported.

Japan Display Inc. was a distant second player with a 12.3 per cent share, and China’s BOE came in third with 11.9 per cent. The Chinese company nearly doubled its market share compared with a year ago on the back of increased investment in flexible OLED panels.

samsung
Samsung’s ultimate goal is create a smartphone with all of sensors embedded beneath the screen. Pixabay

Among OLED panel producers, Samsung Display took up a whopping 80 percent, with its active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) panels.

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Samsung Electronics Co. was the first to adopt the full-screen AMOLED panels for its smartphones in 2010, but the market gathered further growth momentum after its US rival Apple released new models with AMOLED panels in late 2018.

China’s Huawei also launched premium smartphones last year with the high-end screen. (IANS)