Kenyan coffee factories are battling a coffee theft ring which has stolen an estimated 10,000 metric tons of coffee beans, costing farmers millions of dollars and several security guards their lives. Last week it was reported than an agricultural economist has employed laser technology to invent a device which will enable the factories to foil the coffee robbers.
The idea is based on the invisible fence, in which laser beams are designed to surround designated areas. If breached by a human - it discriminates between people and animals - the interruption in the laser beam sets off a call to the cellular phone of one or many designated security personnel. That person(s) can decide, based on the input received, whether to call the police or other personnel or farmers. Pushing one button on the phone sets off an alarm. At a cost of only about $8000, factories will be able to remotely monitor any break-ins without directly confronting the burglars.
The rise in coffee bean thefts indicates how much the value of coffee has increased in a time of growing demand. The “remote surveillance alarm”, the laser device now being tested, should help cut down on the thefts considerably. If the tests go well, it will be up to the farmers to decide if the investment will be made.
The article did not indicate where or how the thieves are disposing of the coffee beans. Apparently they have found a way to complete the drying and roasting processes without tipping anyone off as to the origins of the stolen beans. These beans give a whole new meaning to the idea of “HOT” coffee.