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Baringo’s new coffee mill set to roar in May

Coffee production has doubled in the past two years with the county supporting farmers by giving them free fertiliser. [Kabata Kihu, Standard]

The dwindling coffee industry in Baringo County has received a major boost after the county invested Sh100 million in a new mill.

Governor Stanley Kiptis accompanied by senior officials and farmers toured the facility in Ossen-Kabartonjo to inspect progress on the works.

The factory will be opened in May.

The tour of the factory came almost three years after the county partnered with World Best Friends, a Korean organisation, to establish it.

A memorandum of understating was signed between the governor and Korean investor, Cha Bo Yong, for the project.

With the test run done last week, Kiptis said the factory, which is ready for launching, was set to benefit coffee farmers in Baringo North, Baringo South, Eldama Ravine and Baringo Central.

The county chief said his administration would focus on value addition to ensure locals reap maximum benefits from the crop.

Free fertiliser

“Farmers in all the sub-counties will benefit from the project set to be launched in May. We did a test run of the machines on Thursday and all is set,” Kiptis said.

Coffee production, he said, has doubled in the past two years with the county supporting farmers by giving them free fertiliser.

“Coffee is our black gold and we need to invest in it. Besides the factory we will also support farmers by educating them and offering extension services,” he added.

Speaking to The Standard about the new development, Stephen Chemjor, a coffee farmer, said the factory was a game changer in coffee farming.

The factory, he said, will cut down the cost of transplanting the coffee cherry to Eldoret and save the farmers more money.

The farmer, who has been doing coffee farming since 2004, has more than 1,000 trees on his one acre. He is a member of a cooperative society which he said would harvest the cherry, do pulping before delivering them to Eldoret.

Kituro cooperative, which has over 500 members, delivers about 1,000 kilos of cherry a year to the factory in Eldoret.

Willy Cherogony, a coffee extension officer in the county, said since the crop was introduced to the area by missionaries in 1958, there has not been much sensitisation to encourage the locals to take it up commercially.

Cherogony said in total, Baringo County has over 15,000 hectares in the five sub-counties that was favourable for coffee farming, but only 2,000 hectares has been utilised. 

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