Jacques Chambrillon,Director Belco East Africa
In Kenya, as the early harvest begins, shipments of the main harvest end.
In Kenya, as the early harvest begins, shipments of the main harvest end. As in many producing countries, this harvest has been one of the most difficult for a decade. As in southern Ethiopia, the rains have not come at the right time to get enough quality fruit. Collectors have become very aggressive in obtaining cherries or parchment and the situation has become very difficult for small independent producers like David Ngibuini Maguta and his partners.
→ It is in this context that the “Hands on Coffee” project is entering its second year.
Micro-farmers are still enthusiastic about making natural coffees, however, unfortunately, some producers have left the group, preferring to deliver cherries or “farm gate” parchment (meaning the traders come to collect the goods and pay cash). Only the most motivated remained with David, and these are also the ones we believe are the best:
MAGIC, MANAA, MAGUTA, OLO MAYANA, GERALD, MONSANN, GAKIRA, WANjAIRU , MBOGAT, MBARI
Located at the foot of Mount Kenya between Nyeri and Embu, this group of producers offers traceability and quality like few others in the Kenyan specialty coffee sector. We have access to a better understanding of the small coffee farms in the country. We understand the challenges of Kenyan coffee growing within the framework of polycultures, the agronomic challenge of SL, the development of Batian and Ruiru 11, the grafting of Ruiru onto SL vines, etc. These producers make us aware of the development of agricultural systems in Kenya in the face of environmental, societal, and economic challenges.
Finally, Boyce Harries, with his two plantations of Chania and Oreti in Thika, continues to deliver exceptional quality coffees. He is one of the last Kenyan farmers to offer the full range of Kenyan varieties. This difficult climatic context, coupled with a drop in yields, has led Boyce to make strong choices. He has favored plain and washed over honey coffees, feeling more comfortable with these processes to maintain a high level of quality.
→ Kenyan producers are at a crossroads, and Belco partners seem to be taking an innovative direction to continue to offer those Kenyan profiles so sought after by coffee lovers.