Coffee roasting machine boosts farmers’ earnings
Coffee farmers from Mwirua Farmers’ Cooperative Society in Kirinyaga County are now making a significant extra coin from roasted coffee after the county government provided them with value addition equipment. The 14,000-member society received a coffee roaster, a grinder and a packaging machine that now enables them roast, package and sell their own coffee to local residents.
Mr. George Muthii Karimi who is the society’s Manager said that while the county government provided the value addition equipment, the society sourced for the requisite licenses and authorizations from entities such as the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) as well as barcoding for their product. Karimi says the society started from roasting its coffee in December 2020 and has so far added value to 130 bags of coffee adding that the roasted coffee has a guaranteed market from the member farmers who agreed during their January 2020 annual general meeting that each one of them will be buying at least 500 grams of roasted coffee. The rest of the coffee is then sold to local residents through coffee factories and local shops.
Their target being to encourage local consumption of 20% of their coffee thereby improving the society’s income and payout to farmers and thereafter gradually introduce the value added coffee to supermarkets and other outlets in and outside the county. The society is comprised of nine coffee factories namely; Kariani, Mitondo, Getuya, Gathabi, Kiaragana, Kiambwe, Rwamuthambi, Riakiania and Ihara.
The society’s Chairman, Geoffrey Kinyua said that the equipment has been of great help to the farmers as it is enabling them to add value to lower grades of coffee hence fetching more money for the farmers. Kinyua thanked Governor Anne Waiguru for enabling the value addition initiative that is set to turn around the fortunes of each one of the cooperative society’s members, assuring that eventually their roasted coffee will be trading in the international market.
During the equipment handover event at the society’s offices earlier, Governor Anne Waiguru said that value addition is in line with the Big Four Agenda and will go a long way into improving the farmers’ returns from coffee and also encourage local consumption of coffee. Waiguru affirmed that coffee value addition would also create employment for the youth who are operating the equipment and engaged in various stages of the coffee value chain, a reality that has now been achieved.