Six thousand coffee farmers affiliated with the Rwama coffee society in Gichugu, Kirinyaga County are set to increase the quality of their coffee after acquiring a new modern coffee processing machine.
The farmers benefitted from a modern eco pulping machine donated by the European Union in collaboration with Slovak aid and coffee management service.
The General Manager for coffee management services, Martin Ngari, said the facility is set to increase cherry productivity, cut labor cost thus ultimately maximizing profits owing to its efficiency and advanced technology.
Speaking at the Kimatu coffee factory in Gichugu while commissioning the new pulping machine, Ngari said that the farmers deserved the machine because of their hard work and capability in meeting a high cherry production despite the society being made up of only three coffee factories.
“Unlike many coffee societies that are closing because of registering low cherry production, Rwama has consistently increased its intake year in, year out and with the machine at hand, it shall absorb the capacity delivered without overstretching the already existing machines.”
He noted the new machine has the capacity to process 5,000 kilos of cherry per hour thus reducing the duration required to process about 40,000 kilos of coffee received per day.
Before its introduction, the farmers used a cumbersome old eco pulping contraption machine mounted in the 1960s’.
In addition, he said the 8 million shilling machine has the capability to increase production thus ultimately fetching farmers’ high prices for its ability to grade the coffee beans and reduce damage on the cherry as compared to the traditional machines.
The society’s Chairman, Julius Waweru, said the economically designed machine should be a game-changer that will oversee a major change in the farmer’s fortune due to its efficiency.
The new machine will cut the production cost from Sh10 to Sh4 per kilo of cherry processed.
“I call on all my farmers to put more effort into improving their produce because better days are ahead. We have put in use the machine for a few days and we already witness good results. We are hopeful that our members will fetch better prices with its utilization hence will motivate them to improve on the quality they take to their factories,’ he said
The County Director of the Cooperative Department, Edward Nyaga, who was also present expressed the willingness of the County Government to improve the quality of coffee being processed by providing capacity-building sessions to the farmers.
Nyaga said the County Government would continue linking up the farmers to their extension officers to provide professional help in a bid to improve production.
He said the county would continue collaborating with like-minded stakeholders in a bid to help farmers in the provision of necessary equipment and farm inputs.
Isaack Mugo, the coffee factory Manager for Kimatu coffee factory, said the new machine will help the farmers improve their output and realize better prices.
“Having tested the machine for a few days, the production rate is fast because we are processing between 20 to 25 tons of cherry in a day, translating to about 5 tones in an hour.
The coffee society’s two other coffee factories are Muthigi-ini and Muburi.
By Irungu Mwangi