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 of Trans Nzoia County Government with Coffee Research Institute Kitale and Penagos, a Colombian Company that specializes in the manufacture of Coffee Post-Harvest processing machines.
Speaking during a sensitization forum, the county CEC Member for Agriculture, Mrs Mary Nzomo, said they would work closely with coffee estate farmers and coffee cooperatives societies in the county to promote the best processing technologies and 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 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 would continue to provide coffee extension services and issuance of subsidized seedlings to support the uptake and expansion of the crop in the saying they distributed more than 10,000 subsidized coffee seedlings to farmers across the county under the crop diversification program this year.
“I laud the cooperation from our partners Solidaridad East Africa and CRI Kenya for walking closely with our coffee farmers and providing capacity building on coffee agronomy practices to ensure the productivity of the coffee bushes are enhanced,” she said.
Nzomo added that Trans Nzoia produces the best quality coffee in the country and the county is 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 the 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.
She added that Colombia is now producing 13 million sacks of green coffee as a result of cooperation between the coffee growers 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 can directly engage relevant government departments.
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 through the working with other components that supports the coffee farming industry.
Coffee Research Institute representative Emmanuel Kimeu, said the best quality coffee that comes from Trans Nzoia County is used by other regions to blend their quality.
“Sometimes farmers can produce the best coffee but during the handling and the processing period, the quality can be tampered hence compromising the quality of the coffee from the farmers,” Kimeu said.
He said the partnership with the PENAGOS machinery company would reduce that, hence farmers produce the best quality coffee.
Kimeu added that apart from ensuring coffee farmers get the best farm machinery for the coffee farming, the department is also looking at the efficiency and the machinery that would not use a lot of energy for the farmers to run.
“We are even looking forward to even having machinery that can be driven by solar energy because Trans Nzoia has both the rainy season and sunlight that can be generated with enough solar energy,” he said.
Kimeu also said CRI is also giving out coffee seedlings to the farmers across the county at a subsidized rate.
He called on more farmers to embrace the crop saying it now has the best selling price in the market where a farmer could get up to Sh600, 000 per acre which is far too high compared with the maize farming.
The PENAGOS country sales’ representative Stephine Wainaina Kamondia, said the organization started producing coffee farm machinery in the year 1992 with the aim of promoting agriculture through the use of minimum expenses for coffee processing.
Apart from providing the farm machinery for the coffee farmers, Kamondia said they provide farmers training 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.
Kamondia said the company has a variety of eco pulper coffee machines ranging from 300 kilograms per hour halftone, one tone 1.5 tones, 2.5, 5 tones 7.5 tones up to 20 tons per hour that adding that this would give both small scale and large estates farmers an opportunity to choose according to their needs.
He added that the company also offers after-sale services to its clients whereby when a farmer purchases the machine, it is delivered to the farmer train on the use of the machines.
By Kosuri Valarie