Kirinyaga Governor, Ann Waiguru, has handed over the coffee value addition equipment to a coffee farmers’ cooperative society to boost farmers’ income from coffee and encourage local consumption of coffee beverages.
The equipment that was given to Mwirua Farmers’ Cooperative Society comprises a coffee roaster, a grinding machine and a packaging machine.
While handing over the equipment to the society’s officials, Governor 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.
Coffee value addition will also create employment for the youth who will be engaged in operating the equipment and various stages of the coffee value chain.
Mwirua Farmers’ Co-operative Society has nine coffee factories with a total of 13,555 members.
The society has been able to double its coffee production from 32.9 million kilograms in 2016/2017 to 5.2 million kilograms in 2018/2019, data from the county department of agriculture shows.
To further enhance returns from their farms, the governor also commissioned the distribution of macadamia seedlings to farmers for integration into their farming practice saying that macadamia nuts are in high demand in the international market with buyers willing to pay up Sh170 per kilo.
The county government will ensure that the nuts produced to meet the quality standards required by nut processing companies who are the main target for Kirinyaga nuts.
Since coffee and macadamia have alternate cycles of harvest, Governor Waiguru said that farmers are set to enjoy maximum land use and increased returns all year round.
Kirinyaga County has the potential of producing 13,000 tons of macadamia annually. One macadamia tree can produce about 70 kilos of nuts that can fetch around Sh11,000 per harvest.
The governor encouraged all farmers to adopt intercropping of coffee with other crops which she said were fast becoming cash crops.
The county will be distributing over 100,000 seedlings of avocado and 50,000 seedlings of macadamia this financial year.
Kirinyaga County is known for producing some of the best-rated coffee in the world with Kabare and Baragwi Cooperatives being ranked 4th and 25th respectively in the 2018 Coffee Review Report.
Governor Waiguru said that through improved crop husbandry initiatives, the county government is confident that Kirinyaga coffee farmers, around 70 percent of who are women will realise increased returns and improved livelihood.
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