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Strong local agriculture tourism growth drives up coffee farm earnings

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The increase in local coffee tourism has driven up the earnings of large coffee farms as Nairobians seek cheaper weekend getaways.

The global agritourism market is expected to grow nine per cent annually to 197.37 billion dollars by 2032. This is driven by increasing consumer demand for more economical, nature-based, and sustainable tourism.

Farmers and governments such as Kenya through the Vision 2030 development agenda are actively working to develop the industry’s immense potential by creating an inventory of sites forming an agro-tourism site guide for visitors.

A farm already harvesting the ripe early returns of increased local coffee agrotourism is the Fairview Coffee Estate in Kiambu owned by former Kenyan ambassador to the US Leonard Kibinge.

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Located on Kiambu Road just 40 minutes from Nairobi, the coffee plantation is an increasingly favorite retreat for young professional Nairobians looking for a relaxing quiet environment where they can touch grass after a week of work.

Millicent Onjoro, Head of Coffee Tourism at the Fairview, informed that the farm got into agrotourism nine years ago as a consequence of the low productivity, and limited work and working opportunities during the July to September coffee offseason which coincides with when most tourists visit Kenya.

Fairview has since multiplied its international visitor count as it offers a quick gateway from the capital for those on business and offers tourists something different than wildlife safaris and beach tourism products.

“When we started offering agrotourism services we were largely serving overseas tourists. Today most of our clients are Nairobians looking for a departure on how they spend their weekends,” Millicent informed.

This is also informed by the friendly charges offered to Kenyans at Sh1,000 compared to Sh2,000 and Sh3,000 charged to residents and non-residents respectively.

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With 100 acres holding 78,000 well-shaded SL 28 coffee trees situated 1,750 meters above sea level, it has the perfect ambiance for a day out.

The farm not only offers guests a coffee farm and factory tour, but also accommodation, nature trails, cycling, dairy tours, and is a favorite wedding spot.

Fairview ships 60 per cent of its coffee directly overseas with 20 percent going to the the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) under its branding and roasts the rest to be consumed and bought by guests as well as for delivery to hoteliers and individual clients.

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