Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Kedovo Sustainable coffee farming Project-Ndurutu wet mill

Its been a while......Well a lot has happened and i have been busy transforming my Attic to liveable quarters.The boys decided they needed their own space to build all those trains that i kept stumbling on, and after several hours of debate and voting...they got the Attic. Its a relief for 'my space' downstairs, but that came with a price; i was a Carpenter for close to a month!!!!

Well, back to news from Ndurutu.......
Our sustainable coffee project in partnership with Ndurutu wet mill, entered another phase last month with a group of 10 farmers.

James our volunteer graphicer was busy making sure our farmers had enough protective clothing for the work ahead...

These farmers are undergoing various trainings on both Agronomy and Agri-business.They will later on act as multiplicators of the knowledge to the other farmers in the wet mill. Ndurutu wet mill has currently 527 small scale coffee farmers that produce approx 290,000 kgs of cherry annually. Their coffee is currently available for sale in Germany.

As most of us in the coffee world well know,Kenyan coffee has a distinctive unique quality and it does fetch good prices on the international markets. Unfortunately the kenyan coffee producers are still among the poorest communities in the world.
Our project doesnt dwell on what 'if' or make speculations, we simply want to go on living but with a different hope for our producers. We want our producers as well to understand that Sustainable coffee farming has to be about more than just the current way of doing things.
We want our farmers to understand that, for them to advance economically from coffee production, they have to do more than simply sending coffee in a burlap bag overseas and expecting the buyers to pay an 'arm and a leg' for it. For us to be paid these high prices we also have to add value to our coffee- that is the only way we can have a harmonised partnerships with our buyers in Germany.

To achieve this, Kedovo gang in Kenya is currently busy training the farmers on the following activities, which are at the basic level and yet very crucial in determining the final quality of the end product.

We also got inhouse our dedicated volunteer Mailin who is busy learning in Kenya all the processes of coffee production and processing. Welcome aboard Mailin.

Mailin cleaning coffee in Kenya
And so the gang gets ready with the following:

  • Soil conservation measures such as planting blue grass and digging erosion basins to hold soil run offs.
  • Recycling of coffee by-products (Pulp) into the fields to build organic matter content.
  • Planting of shade trees and re-afforestation.
  • Appropriate land preparation.
  • Organic foliar application.
  •  Pests and diseases control management.
  • Timely production activities eg Pruning, weed control, Desuckering etc.
These activities aims to increase the annual income of small-scale producers through improvements in productivity, quality, and diversity of the coffee. Currently the farmers have as low as 2kg productivity per coffee tree, with our agronomy trainings, we plan to increase productivity to atleast 5kg per coffee tree, and this will be high quality coffee leading to increased income.

Its is said that Agribusiness is one of the main generators of employment and income worldwide. I dont dispute. But do coffee producers practise agri business?
Davie of Kedovo Kenya asked one farmer how much he spent last month on costs of production, the farmer had no idea :( Now its in his docket to train our coffee producers what is record keeping, and how to factor the cost of labour in their calculations.
Our project emphasizes traininings in business management. I believe for these farmers to thrive, they must use a business approach in their coffee production.
We want our producers to develop themselves to an extent where they can run self-financed, well-managed business operations which can export directly to roasters worldwide. That is Sustainability.

Davie and Mailin.
The farmers will be trained as well on :
  • Sound business practices
  • Business management
  • Record keeping
  • Market information systems
  • Accounting
  • Business planning
  • Savings and credit management. 
This project has been facilitated by our partner Sandtorkai Handel Papenhagen and ofcourse all of you roasters and our dedicated clients who continue buying the coffee from Soni and Nicole.
Many thanks to all of you who have believed in us, just to mention a few; Jonas, Kira, Daniel,Pingo, Thimo,Cornie, Eva, etc

We still have a lot of work ahead of us...lets make it happen.

As usual we still have some stocks of the Ndurutu coffee available at our warehouse in Bremen.
We are currently offerring the Ndurutu coffee, late harvest 2013/ 2014 F.O.T Bremen- transport to other destination within Germany arrangable at a cost. 
Please contact Nicole Boedtger or Soni Schneidewind for samples, price quoatations and contracting.

In the meantime, Mailin continues to harvest and wet processes the coffee in Kenya..

And Soni and Kira get ready to travel to Kenya in the next couple of prepare our next shipment.

So long!

Signed Soni