Kenyan coffee is recognized in the world market for its quality. It is also an important crop for the country's economy, which generates significant revenues for export and for small planters, and account for more than 50% of national production. Muranga County is an important area for coffee production in Kenya, with rich volcanic soils and a favourable climate in the Aberdares range. More than 100,000 small-scale farmers are involved in coffee production and are members of more than thirty cooperatives, grouped within the Muranga Cooperative Union of Farmers. The cooperative is an important mechanism for supporting farmers and strengthening agricultural production. The coffee sector in Kenya has experienced some events that have led to a significant decline in coffee production over the past two decades. These factors include increased cost of production, limited access to inputs and fluctuating world coffee prices. Small-scale planters are particularly vulnerable to such developments that negatively impact the quantity and quality of coffee produced. The country's export earnings are also affected.
The project aims to: - strengthen the Muranga Union and help member of cooperatives to improve the quantity and quality of coffee produced; - evaluate the quality of coffee produced by the Muranga Union; - assist cooperatives to improve the marketing and valuation of their products; - contribute to developing a strategy and legal framework on the signs of recognition of coffee quality in Kenya. The project plans to deploy staff (agronomy, field staff, coffee marketing) to the Muranga Union; upgrade quality coffee laboratory facilities at the Muranga Union coffee mill; provide ICT training and equipment to the Union, renovate coffee processing facilities; characterize Aberdare's eastern flank for coffee production and coffee disease control and train farmers on coffee value chain. The Kenya Livestock and Agriculture Research Organization (KALRO) is the lead agency for project implementation acting through the Coffee Research Institute. Other implementing agencies are Muranga Union, the Industrial Property Institute of Kenya and CIRAD.
Some expected impacts of the project:
- increased coffee production income for the coffee producers of Muranga Union.
- Improved quantity and quality of coffee produced by the farmers benefiting from the project.
- Improved management of coffee cooperatives of Muranga Union and provision of better services to coffee farmers.