Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Changing the story of our coffee producers

Lying between the Eastern base of The Aberdares, and the western slopes of Mt Kenya ,on the fertile Central Highlands, on the banks of River Chania is the village of my birth.On a ridge overlooking the river lies the Ndurutu Wet Mill.
The mountains are very significant and important to the communities living around them they  feature a lot in our folkrole and songs.- they are our source of livelihood. Without them, we couldnt have our great coffee. 

Mt.Kenya as seen from the village
 Two years have gone by since we launched Chania Coffee Project. The first year was full of amazing experiences, tiring, challenging, despair  but we kept the faith.
Then came the second year 2014. Which was a great opportunity year. The year of breakthrough. We brought the idea of Partnerships and relationships from both sides of the cup closer home- we told the story of my people our way. This wouldnt have been possible without Nicole and Heinz.
On the ground in Kenya we started the trainings on sustainable coffee farming to our group of vocal farmers.
Our efforts are to train the farmers in producing high quality coffee and generate additional premium by selling their beans on the international specialty coffee market.
Most of the farmers are now understanding that this is the only way their living conditions can improve.

field trainings

We supported Karindundu and Ndurutu Primary schools with books, desks, uniforms, school fees and changed hundred of lives. We gave these amazing kids educational chances beyond primary school, beyond the farming villages, chances  to continue telling our story.
We set up water tanks for a number of  farmers so they could have access to clean water. 

beneficiary from the water tank project

Through our Direct Trade intiative we offered and continue to offer direct links between our coffee producers and the roasters.Both sides now know that trade is not just about the money but about the people who produce our coffee, the people who roast the coffee, their families, their stories, their livelihoods. Through this method we have been able to invest in sustainable practices for the farmers, as we are assuaring a sustainable demand at a fair price- and the roasters who depend on us are assured quality coffee and steady supply. This creates a demand and an opportunity for our producers to reverse the cycle of poverty.

Jonas of Kaffee Braun meeting coffee producers in Kenia from our project
Loppokaffeeespress in Kenia so they get to know the people who produce their coffee

Stefan of Kiez Roastery discussing with the chairman of Ndurutu wet mill
Two weeks ago our first container for the year 2015 arrived at the port of Bremen. The coffee for this season is again from the NDURUTU Wet Mill in Nyeri. This time the quality had improved and we shipped both Kenya AB's and AA's .
We braced the horrible north Germany weather and headed towards Bremen with Heinz and Nicole to receive the coffee.The coffee despite having taken much longer than we anticipated was in excellent condition. 

our coffee arriving intact in Bremen

Soni, Heinz & Nicole in Bremen

With the purchase of this coffee, Sandtorkai Handel Papenhagen our partner, assures us of the continuity of our work in community development. Not only will we continue supporting the schools with their requirements we plan to tackle the problem of 'Thin months' which drastically affect our coffee producers.The thin months is the ''seasonal hunger' when income derived from previous harvest ran short.This has been a major threat for the community for years where they experience an extreme food and cash shortage for a minimum of three months every year.

quality control, check ;)

The KEDOVO plan of curbing this and bolstering food security as well as income generation, is the training and facilitation of income generating projects for the growers so that they are not over dependant on coffee production.Diversification will offer alternative sources of income and lower the pressure on coffee as the only means of income. Our objective is the sustainability of rural livelihoods and this can only achieved by holistic approaches that will make the farmers to continue producing and supplying us with quality and quantity coffee at the same time giving them chances and opportunities to thrive, opportunities for a better tomorrow.

The first phase of this project targets 13 of our women farmers who have been  facilitated by setting up of  altenative means of income through Poultry Farming for egg production.This will assure that each household has a steady flow of income through the sale of eggs to neighbouring towns etc. The Kedovo gang in Kenya facilitates the trainings, the constructions of coops and the marketing of the eggs. This kind of alternative source of income will smooth out the household income throughout the year. By supporting these women coffee growers we are supporting the entire community.
This project is a collaboration between KEDOVO e.V and Centre for International Migration & Development .

The next phase will be to train and facilitate most of the farmers to use some part of the income derived from the coffee to expand into other ventures and enterprises like the farming of fruits and vegetables that can be sold to generate income.
This way our coffee producers can comfortably feed their families.

Kedovo gang with some members of the women coffee farmers
 Ndurutu being a rural village, many a household depend on wood as a source of energy. Kedovo -Kenya together with Dominic of Flexi Biogas International will be installing biogas digesters for a number of our coffee farmers in line with our work towards the introduction of efficient and renewable energy.
The biogas digesters are an innovation from Dominic and they will use the coffe husks from the Ndurutu Wet Mill, kitchen waste, chicken droppings from the women project etc to generate energy for the community.
The systems produces as well a Bio slurry which is enriched organic manure which will replace the chemical fertilizers used on the coffee farms, leading to improved farming yields.

Biogas system designed by Dom that works on any bio degradable matter.
 As the gang in Kenya gets down to work , Soni and Nicole will literally knock on doors in Germany to make sure the coffee is sold. The coffee harvesting season began last week in Ndurutu and we have a lot of coffee to sell!

Special thanks to Speicherstadt Kaffeerösterie- words alone are not enough; but know we are totally grateful. To Loppokaffeeespress; thank you sister from another mother- thanks for believing in me and getting on that plane! hej who can forget the 2 days you got stuck in Amsterdam :D or how your nice shoes got spoilt by the mud in the village and you walked with gaping toes till we found a cobbler :D? 

Kira of Loppokafeeespress in Kenia helping with the harvest
To Ferdinands Kaffeerösterei, De Koffiemann, Wiener Rösthaus, Neu Kaffeerösterei Plauen, Kaffee Braun,Supremo, CTS GmbH, Kafferösterei Burg and the rest of you amazing roasters who still continue supporting our work our sincere gratitude.
To continue supporting these communities we have on offer Green coffee (Rohkaffee) from Ndurutu Wet Mill late crop 2013-2014 F.O.T Bremen as well as late crop 2014-2015, transport within Germany & the EU arrangable at a cost. Please contact Soni Schneidewind or Nicole Boedgter for information on samples, prices and contract.

 For those interested in Kenyan Single origin roasted coffees kindly purchase from our Online Shop or visit our offices in Kaltenkirchen.
Our handcrafted coffees are also available at Engel Eis Cafe on the Hamburger Strasse 23 in Kaltenkirchen , visit the shop & Cafe 'Ein Welt Laden' located at the VHS in Kaltenkirchen , am Kretemoor 40, or pass by at the Kaltenkirchener Wochenmark every Saturday from 07:00 hrs to 12 noon.

Our coffees at the Engel Eis Cafe
 The journey continues...