A coffee farmer Duncan Kamau in Gituara area. (Photo: Joseph Muchiri/Standard)
More than 42,000 coffee farmers from 12 co-operative societies in the Mt Kenya region earned Sh630 million last month. The rich pickings came from 7.3 million kilos of cherry delivered, thanks to a new farming initiative.
This was the best pay-out in five years as a result of a sharp rise in the production of premium grade coffee, which increased by more than 75 per cent in the 2016-2017 production year after a training programme on coffee farming best practices.
The farmers, from Nyeri, Murang’a, Embu, Kirinyaga, Kiambu and Meru counties are aligned to the Nestlé Nescafé Plan programme that conducted the training. Farmers from Karithathi Society in Kirinyaga received the highest pay at Sh103 per kilo followed by Murue Society in Embu and Kangunu Society in Murang’a at Sh101 and Sh90.10 respectively.
Nescafé Plan Project Manager Peter Kimata said on average, the 12 co-operative societies paid their farmers Sh87 per kilo compared to an average of Sh42 paid five years ago when total payment stood at about Sh200 million.
Speaking during a visit to Murue Society in Embu North at the weekend, Mr Kimata said farmers who diligently followed the training enabled the increase in production of premium grade AA, AB and PB coffee.
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He said Nestlé, in partnership with Coffee Management Services Ltd, introduced the programme in Kenya in 2011 as part of creating shared value after realising that farmers were abandoning the crop while the quality of coffee was plummeting.
“The programme aims to improve the quality and quantity of coffee production, connect farmers to the market and improve their living standards,” said Kimata.