Iyego cooperative society in Kangema sub county, Murang’a is eying increased earnings after acquiring a coffee roasting and packaging equipment.
The factory is now targeting to sell its packaged coffee to the local market starting early next year.
The society in partnership with Fairtrade Africa has also managed to acquire an eco-pulping machine, aimed at making coffee processing at the factories more efficient.
The society chairman, Njuguna Karatu said the Sh8 million equipment will help them start packing their Iyego Coffee Premium trading at Sh1, 000 per kilo.
“Packaged coffee will be selling at one shilling per gram and we are targeting the local market, starting with Murang’a,” noted Karatu.
The society, with 12 factories and more than 7, 000 farmers has in the recent past improved on their coffee quality.
Karatu observed that the newly acquired eco-pulping machine uses little water when processing coffee, unlike the conventional one, which is used by many of the societies.
“With the new equipment, farmers have hopes of increased earnings. The government has introduced several reforms in the coffee sector and we are optimistic that in near future the crop will be paying better returns,” he added.
Speaking when the society got the machines Monday, Murang’a Deputy Governor Stephen Munania said the county administration is working to revive the sector by providing subsidies to farmers.
“A week ago, the county assembly passed regulations which will allow us to start giving farmers subsidies to boost production of various crops including coffee.
Coffee produced in Murang’a is of the best quality and we are aiming at investing in value addition so that farmers may fetch more income. We laud the Iyego coffee society for acquiring these machines which will be of great benefit to local farmers,” added Munania.
He noted that the county government has rolled out a programme jointly with the Murang’a Farmers Cooperative Union to involve the youth in coffee farming.
“Bringing the youth on board will help in increasing production of coffee, thus more returns from the local and the international markets,” he said.
Kangema MP Peter Kihungi said the upgrading of factories under Iyego society should be a lesson to other societies in their concerted efforts of helping the farmers’ access better returns.
“I challenge the international dealers running coffee shops in Kenya like Dorman to buy locally roasted coffee instead of importing. Kenya has enough of the commodity for both local consumption and export,” said Kihungi.
By Bernard Munyao