Thousands of coffee farmers affiliated to Gakungu Farmers’ Cooperative Society in Embu County are set to benefit from coffee farming following the donation of a Ksh 6.5 million modern pulping machine to facilitate the processing of the cash crop.
The modern eco-pulping machine donated by the European Union (EU) in collaboration with Slovak Aid and Central Management Services (CMS) is expected to save processing cost for farmers due to its efficiency in terms of speed as well as low power and water consumption.
The machine, according to CMS General Manager, Martin Ngari, has the potential of processing five tons of coffee in an hour using less water and power compared to the old disc-pulper that has the capacity of three.
“The machine is able to assist farmers cut labor cost by almost a third of the previous cost thus ultimately maximizing farmers’ returns owing to its efficiency,” the GM said.
He said that another saving was in water consumption as the modern machine required only two liters to process a kilo of cherry unlike that old one that uses 20 liters.
Speaking while commissioning the machine, Ngari said the machine also ensures the quality of beans is not compromised as it uses press methods to separate the beans from the shell unlike the old disc-pulper that uses the cut method that occasionally damages the beans.
“The machine ensures that 90 per cent of all pulped coffee is of good grade at the primary level,” Kuria said, noting that the modernization project was currently running in four coffee growing counties of the Central Region including Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Nyeri and Embu.
He also reported that the new machine could be calibrated to ferment coffee in case of water scarcity especially at this age of climate changes that is characterized by dwindling water resources.
Ngari urged farmers to take up coffee farming as a business and also boost production through adoption of modern farming techniques.
He said production was at an all-time low of an average of three kilos per bush per annum against a potential of up to 25 kilos per year with good husbandry practices.
The GM reported that they are working closely with extension officers in the counties to ensure farmers keep abreast with new farming trends to increase production.
While lauding the gesture, the Society Chairman, Joseph Njogu, appealed to farmers to make maximum use of the machine by increasing their produce noting that coffee prices had improved tremendously heralding a new dawn for the crop that was once regarded as the black gold.
Area Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Jeremiah Tumo, assured farmers of security of coffee within the factory and also enroute to the market.
He said through Community Policing Committees, they have been able to end theft of coffee that was a normal occurrence a few years back.
Tumo said one of the measures they had put in place was to ensure coffee was not packed up until the day it was destined to be transported to the market making it hard for potential thieves to cart it away.
By Samuel Waititu