Counties strike deal for Sh3 billion coffee factory

Western Community Health Association Coffee CEO Arnold Andabwa Abwalaba inspects his coffee plantation farm at Lwesero. Lurambi in Kakamega county on February 21, 2018. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]
Three European countries have joined hands to build a coffee factory in Kakamega County at a cost of Sh3 billion.

Sweden, Norway and Britain jointly formed the Scandinavian Care Foundation and are set to support counties from Western get value from coffee farming.

They also helped Uganda establish several coffeefactories, making it the second largest coffee exporter in Africa.

The new factory has been registered as Wecohas CoffeeLimited.

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Farmers from coffee growing counties such as Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma, Busia and Trans Nzoia have been counting losses as a result of coffee smuggling to Uganda by cartels.

The impoverished farmers have also been getting delayed payments when they sell their coffee through cooperative societies, which for a long time have been paying them poorly.

Governors Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Wilbur Ottichilo (Vihiga), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma) and Trans Nzoia’s Patrick Khaemba have endorsed the project.

This is part of the deal they signed recently. Also in the deal, the investors will build a cancer hospital in Kakamega town and an airport in Mumias town at a cost of Sh6 billion.

The investors will be required to manage the coffee factory for five years before handing it over to the farmers.

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Wecohas Coffee Limited CEO for Western Region, Arnold Andabwa, says the Coffee Board of Kenya has given them the go ahead to construct the factory at Kibuma CoffeeFactory.

Kibuma Coffee Factory, which collapsed a decade ago, is next to Bukura Agricultural College in Lurambi Sub-county. The factory used to serve coffee farmers from Kisa, Butsotso and Marama.

Mr Andabwa says the factory will be ready by June 2019 and will be milling 500,000 tonnes of coffee annually.

“Over 500 societies have registered with us and they will be supplying their coffee berries to us for milling instead of taking it to Thika. We will process, blend and look for market for the already branded coffee on their behalf,” he says.

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He says the 500 coffee societies have over 4,000 farmers and they are talking with other societies to join in so as to form a regional coffee zone to ensure a constant flow of raw materials to the factory.

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