Coffee farmers in Trans Nzoia County are set to be beneficiaries of a post-harvest processing technology that will contain losses incurred due to wastage and rotting of their harvest owing to reliance on manual processes.
This follows a partnership between the County Government of Trans Nzoia, Coffee Research Institute (CRI) Kitale and Penagos, a Colombian company that specializes in the manufacture of Coffee Post Harvest processing machines that requires less water and energy.
Speaking during a sensitization forum, the CEC Agriculture Mary Nzomo said they will work closely with coffee estate farmers & coffee cooperatives societies in the county to promote the best processing technologies & techniques hence ensuring farmers get the best quality beans only comparable to a market leader like Colombia.
“This is good news to our coffee farmers in the county who have continued to register great interest in the coffee value chain for it will help them improve on the quality of their coffee in order to fetch better prices in the market,” said Mrs. Nzomo. She urged coffee farmers in the county to take advantage of the partnership by ensuring they join coffee farmers’ groups for collective processing, bulking, and marketing of coffee to have high economies of scale.
The CEC said the county will continue to provide coffee extension services and issuance of subsidized seedlings to support the uptake and expansion of the crop in the county having distributed more than 10,000 subsidized coffee seedlings to farmers across the county under the crop diversification programme this year. She applauded the cooperation from the partners Solidaridad East Africa and CRI Kenya for walking closely with coffee farmers and providing capacity building on coffee agronomy practices to ensure the productivity of the coffee bushes is enhanced.
Nzomo added that Trans Nzoia produces the best quality coffee in the country and they are looking forward to ensuring that coffee farmers in the county sell processed, packed, and branded products directly to consumers to enable them to fetch more returns. “This will see the farmers establish a brand name for the county’s coffee worldwide and this is one of the ways to attract investors into the county to put up coffee factories and processing plants,” said the CEC.
The Colombian embassy representative Claudia Milena Vaca said coffee is one of Colombia’s dearest products that have a similarity with Kenya saying 95% of the coffee in Colombia is produced by small farmers. “There is a need to bring to your attention that Colombia is not in the country to compete but to collaborate to boost coffee production in the country,” said Milena
The Diplomat added that Colombia is now producing 13 Million sacks of green coffee as a result of cooperation between the coffee growers have with a very strong federation of coffee growers who work towards sustainability urging the coffee farmers in the county to come up with
formidable farmers groups that will directly engage relevant government departments. Ms Milena welcomed the partnership with the coffee farmers in the county towards farm mechanization on coffee through Pengaos adding that Colombia has made strides not only because of the factories but also through embracing other components that support the coffee industry.
The Coffee Research Institute representative Joseph Kimemia said the county is producing quality coffee and even other regions are using it to blend, hence boosting their quality.
“Sometimes farmers can produce the best coffee but during the handling and the processing period the quality can be tempered hence compromising the quality of the coffee from the farmers,” said Kimemia. He added that apart from ensuring coffee farmers get the best farm machinery they are also looking at the efficiency and the machinery that will not use a lot of energy for the farmers to run. They are even looking forward to having machinery that can use dr solar energy.
Kimemia also said CRI is giving out coffee seedlings to the farmers across the county at a subsidized rate calling on more farmers to embrace the crop saying a farmer can get up to Kshs 600,000 per acre which is far too high compared with maize farming.
Stephine Kamondia, the Penagos country sales representative said apart from providing the farm machinery to the coffee farmers, they train farmers on the need to embrace coffee processing with the use of modern equipment that requires less water and energy saying many coffee farmers lose the quality of their coffee harvest due to the use of poor quality machinery.