Nestlé, a global food processing firm, has expanded its coffee training plan in Kenya to now reach farmers in Nandi, Kericho and Bungoma counties.
The company says it has recruited 12 farmers’ cooperatives comprising of over 18,000 coffee farmers in the new regions to take part in the programme which will also focus on recruiting more women and youth to participate in the coffee value chain.
The project to be implemented in the next three years, will see Nestlé offers extension services, establish coffee demonstration plots for teaching purposes, conduct soil analysis, employ and equip agronomists who will be attached to the cooperatives.
Bungoma County Chief Officer of Cooperatives, Ms Sella Okella said the launch of Nescafé Plan in the county was timely as farmers are starting to embrace coffee farming.
“We have seen continuous growth in acreage of land in coffee with more and more people embracing the cash crop. We are also encouraging more women and the unemployed youth to embrace coffee farming as the demand for the crop continues to grow,” Ms Okella said.
The Nestle East Africa Managing Director Njeru Ng’entu said the renewal of the Nescafé Plan follows its successes made in two previous phases.
The firm says on average, the farmers’ co-operative societies recorded a 12 percent rise in coffee production while the quantity of coffee produced per tree by farmers who partially adopted the good agricultural practices increased from 2.5kg per tree to up-to 7kg per tree between 2011 and 2018.
“Those who fully adopted the good agricultural practices recorded a 300 percent productivity growth from 2.5kg per tree at inception to 13kg per tree,” he added.
The firm hopes to train over 5,300 farmers in its third phase.
This is an addition to about 6,039 women who were reached and trained on cooperative leadership, coffee production, confidence building, self-development and coffee verification in phase two.
Thousands of farmers from the first two phases of the Nescafe Plan have adopted the Batian coffee variety which is high yielding and disease resistant, hence the production is likely to increase in the next three years.
Nestlé Kenya, through its implementation partner the Coffee Management Services (CMS) Limited, has already identified 12 coffee farmers’ cooperative societies and 24 wet mills to be part of this renewed programme.
Of the 12 farmers’ cooperative societies identified six are based in central Kenya while six are from Bungoma, Kericho and Nandi counties.