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Western and central Kenya farmers to receive support to grow high yielding and disease resistant Batian coffee variety

Nescafe Plan Launch in Bungoma Photo
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Nescafe Plan Launch in Bungoma. Photo courtesy.

Over 18,000 coffee farmers from Western and Central regions of Kenya are set to receive training and technical support courtesy of Nestlé’s Nescafé Plan dubbed Coffee by Women in Kenya to grow Batian coffee variety which is high yielding and disease resistant, hence the production is likely to more than double in the next three years.

In this, the global firm has today unveiled its plan to spend an additional Sh23m to empower coffee growing households in the regions. The funds will finance the third phase of the Nescafé Plan programme.

“The renewal of the Nescafé Plan follows the successes made in our earlier two phases where we invested over Sh70m. On average, the Farmers’ Co-operative Societies recorded a 12 per cent rise in coffee production while the quantity of coffee produced per tree by farmers who partially adopted the good agricultural practices increased from 2.5Kgs per tree to up-to 7Kgs per tree between 2011 and 2018,” said Mr. Njeru Ng’entu, Managing Director of Nestle East Africa.

“Those who fully adopted the good agricultural practices recorded a 300 per cent productivity growth from 2.5kg per tree at inception to 13kg per tree,” he added.

The fund will be used in offering extension services, establishing coffee demonstration plots for teaching purposes, conducting soil analysis and employing plus equipping agronomists who will be attached to the cooperatives.

“In this third phase over 5,300 of the new farmers are women who will be trained on growing their coffee in an efficient and sustainable manner.  This is an addition to about 6,039 women who were reached and trained on cooperative leadership, coffee production, confidence building, self-development and coffee verification in phase two,” Mr. Ng’entu added.

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According to Ng’entu thousands of farmers from the first two phases of the Nescafe Plan have adopted the Batian coffee variety, hence the success.

Nestlé Kenya, through its implementation partner the Coffee Management Services (CMS) Limited, has already identified 12 coffee farmers’ cooperative societies and 24 wet mills to be part of this renewed programme. Of the 12 farmers’ cooperative societies identified six are based in Central Kenya while six are from Bungoma, Kericho and Nandi Counties.

The Nescafé Plan is a global initiative by Nestlé to create value across the coffee supply chain, from farmers to consumers. In Kenya, Nestlé launched the Nescafé Plan in 2011 with Coffee Management Services Ltd as the implementing partner.

“Another aim of the Nescafé Plan has been to promote the inclusion of women and youth in coffee farming and cooperatives administration, both of which recorded tremendous success in the initial phases.” said Mr. Ng’entu.

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Nescafé Plan III is good news for these women and youth as they will be empowered to take up roles in coffee and allow them to receive extended agronomist support.

Nescafé Plan aims to build capacity by offering training and technical support to farmers. It hopes this will help to improve productivity, quality, and higher incomes for farmers.

“The first two phases of the project were remarkably successful, impacting over 42,000 farmers who were trained on good agricultural practices. We managed to reach more than 8,500 women and almost 3000 youth in the initial phases of the plan,” said Kamau Kuria, Managing Director Coffee Management Services (CMS) Ltd.

“The project will scale-up the Nescafe plan interventions to 12 more co-operatives to enable adoption of good agricultural practices, to increase their productivity and improve their quality. During the past six years, the Nescafe plan program managed to considerably provide solutions to key challenges that coffee farmers have been facing.  A good number of small holder farmers are still experiencing these challenges and hence the need for Nestlé to continue to work with additional new farmers,” explained Mr. Kuria.

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Bungoma County Chief Officer of Cooperatives, Ms, Sella Okella said the launch of Nescafé Plan in the County was a timely as farmers are starting to embrace coffee farming.

“We have seen continuous growth in acreage of land in coffee with more and more people embracing the cash crop. Nestlé’s Nescafé Plan will augment the county government’s plan to ensure coffee farmers livelihoods are improved through helping them increase the quantity and quality of the coffee they produce. We are also encouraging more women and the unemployed youth to embrace coffee farming as the demand for the crop continues to grow,” said Ms. Sella Okella

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