Farmers in central region learn about coffee production. Photo courtesy.
At least 42,000 Central Kenya farmers under a global coffee processor’s training plan have collectively increased their earnings by about 75 percent, with adherence to crop husbandry being fronted as one of the main causes of the rise.
The farmers under the Nestlé’s Nescafé Plan programme received Sh630 million in May, 2017 after delivering 7.3 million kilogrammes of cherry.
Farmers from Karithathi Farmers’ Cooperative Society (FCS) in Kirinyaga received the highest pay of Sh103 per kilo followed by Murue FCS in Embu and Kangunu FCS in Murang’a at Sh101 and Sh90.10 per kilogramme respectively.
On average the 12 cooperative societies paid their farmers Sh87 per kilogramme compared to an average of Sh42 paid five years ago.
Besides high yields, the practices give high quality beans that fetch more in the export market.
Nestle Equatorial Africa head of communications and public affairs Brinda Chiniah said the high results were achieved because farmers are following trainings, which have led to production of AA, AB and BP classes of coffee.
The Nestle Plan programme trains famers on how to boost production by first growing disease, pest, and drought tolerant varieties. They are also trained on crop husbandry practices like pruning.
Apart from offering new high yielding seedlings, the farmers are trained on how to grow their harvest from 3-5kg to 20-25 from the same tree.
Between 2011 and 2016, the FCSs recorded 83 per cent rise in coffee production while the quantity of coffee produced per tree has increased from 2.5kg per tree in 2011 to 13kg in 2016 for farmers adhering to training offered in the programme.
Nestle projects a further increase in coffee yields after distributing more than 340,000 seedlings of high yielding and disease resistant Batian coffee variety. About 50 percent of these Batian seedlings have reached production stage, the officer said.
The programme, which was started in 2011 aimed at enhancing the crop after farmers started abandoning it, leading to production fall.