Region: Mathioya District
Producer: Raikamba Farmers Cooperative Society
Farmers: 4,000 Smallholder farmers
Altitude: 1,690+ m.a.s.l
Varietal: Ruiru 11, SL 28, SL 34, Batian
Coating mouthfeel, with boysenberry and prune sweetness and green grape acidity.
Farmers belonging to the Raikamba Farmers Cooperative Society began planting coffee on the eastern slopes of Aberdare ranges and Southern side of Mt Kenya in the 1950s. Today, Ngutu is one of seven wet mills in the larger cooperative, with nearly 4,000 farmers contributing their harvests to the mill to be processed.
Coffee farming in this region goes back to the 1950s, but many members of the Cooperative rely on additional economic and agricultural activities for their livelihoods. In addition to producing coffee, most farmers in the area also produce macademia, maize and dairy for sale at local markets and for their own tables.
Farmers selectively handpick the ripest, reddest cherries, which are then delivered to the wet mill on the same day. Cherries are hand sorted prior to pulping, with damaged and under ripe cherries being separated out from the red, ripe lots. After pulping the coffee is fermented for between 12 and 24 hours. After fermentation, the coffee is washed in clean, fresh water to remove all traces of mucilage before being delivered through sorting channels to dry on raised beds.
Some of the issues that farmers face are low production due to loss due to pests and diseases and the relatively high cost of inputs. Many cannot afford to plant disease resistant varieties and face being priced out of the market as their yields diminish. Climate change presents many difficulties, in fact, to farming in the area and one of the challenges for the cooperative is educating their members so as to mitigate its impact.
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