Saturday, December 31, 2016

Strengthening Coffee Farming Communities

It’s the last day of 2016. I sit outside my mother’s house and look at the fog covered Mt Kenya. It has been quite a journey...

View of Mt Kenya from Ndurutu Village
36 months, 992 Farmers, 93 Tonnes of Green beans shipped to Germany and an amazing load of coffee friends and family. This is the story of Kedovo Coffee Project. This is the story of a continuous journey of the coffee producing community of the Abedare Mountains selling their coffee directly to Germany.
Coffee drying at Thageini Wet Mill
The last three years  have been amazing though not easy. We have met and made great coffee friends, long term partnerships with the goal of strengthening these farming villages have been made, and we are heading towards progressive and sustainable farming practices. The grey hairs on my head tell it all......

What coffee producers have needed is a reliable market that offers a good, steady price for coffee beans.The Kedovo Coffee Project has done more than just to improve trade relationships and access to International market. We have continued to ensure that part of our revenue is returned to these coffee farming communities to support social development projects.  A total of 8,785 farming families have directly benefited from these services.

Farmers from Kedovo Coffee Project

A Kedovo Coffee farmer enjoying a cup of Kenia Ndurutu roasted by One Take Coffee from Hamburg

The main harvest is coming to an end, we have had delays and problems this season. The rains didn’t come on time. Coffee from most of the farms was affected by Leaf rust. My father lost most of his harvest, he is a sad man.This year’s problems feel even larger than the last. But I have hope and comfort……

Picking of the last cherries from the fields

My mother hand selecting ripe cherries
We have been meeting our farmers the last weeks, visiting their farms, having discussions, drawing plans for the project together, receiving first hand experience to help us  understand the health of the cooperatives and the challenges faced by the people responsible for our delicious coffees, and finding solutions together as a community. Its from these meetings that we can hear about the challenges and the successes from the harvest. Its also from these meetings that we can give feedback to our farmers about the previous harvest.These are my people...

Zackie holding discussions with a group of coffee farmers

Farmer's field day, learning all about cupping and what a roaster looks for in a coffee
I have hope and comfort that a time will eventually come when we can start celebrating improved quality, meet market demand and the farmers be in a position and have the ability to understand coffee markets.
The work of KEDOVO Coffee Project is to avail coffee from these communities directly in Europe and connect foreign roasters with these farmers in order to forge long term partnerships for both parties. We continue promoting and ensuring Transparency in the way Kenyan coffee is traded. Farmers need to know what happens to their coffee once its sold to importers and roasters.

Kedovo Coffee Trip dec 2016

Yes we can do this!!!
Our work in supporting the Social development of these communities has not waivered. This has only been made possible by you all who continue purchasing our coffee.
The Project on Installation of Solar Power Systems for families of Ndurutu Wet Mill has been progressing as planned and we have managed to Install Solar systems for 12 families so far. The target for this project is to cover 50 farmers.
supporting a Kedovo Coffee Farmer with a solar system

We know and believe that the livelihoods of these communities will only be changed if coffee farming is economically sustainable. We continue supporting sustainable coffee farming practices that respects the crop, the soil and the farmers. We supported Ndurutu Wet Mill with Inputs such as Protective farming gear and Fertilizers. This is the only way we can continue planting seeds for a better future.
Zackie & Joseph ensuring nothing is left to chance

Caro our coffee soldier, thanking on of the farmer's for his dedication in coffee farming

Nicole handing over protective clothing to the Chairman of Ndurutu Wet Mill
support of inputs- fertilizers to improve soil nutrients

Karl Heinz helping a farmer load a bag of Fertilizer at Ndurutu wet mill
I grew up in a world of struggle, survival but amidst all hope. My father believed that education was the only way we would overcome our poverty situation. We had the best education he could afford through proceeds from coffee production. My community has no other source of income. We rely on coffee. Our Kedovo project on Education for Sustainable development for the children of our coffee producers is rooted deep in our hearts. We have been there...we know the worries of not knowing if tomorrow you will be in the classroom, we know the frustrations of learning in a dusty, leaking classroom. We know the embarassment of going to school in torn uniform...
The renovation of Ndurutu Primary school phase two started in December 2016 to finish up the remaining classrooms.

beginning of second phase of renovations

renovations underway

renovated part -phase two

Non renovated class- Phase two

renovated classes-phase two
In December we began our new project which is the construction of an Admnistration Block for Ndurutu Primary School. This would not have been possible without the support of our development partners BINGO Projektförderung Schleswig Holstein and you all our coffee gang. And on behalf of my people, our sincere thanks...
Zackie of Kedovo showing off the plans for the new adminstration block to chairman of PTA and the Local government authorities

communities for each other

construction of modern Adminstration Block for Ndurutu Primary underway
To continue supporting these communities we have on offer Green coffee (Rohkaffee) from Ndurutu Wet Mill & Thageini Wet Mill F.O.T Bremen or Hamburg, transport within Germany & the EU arrangable at a cost. Please contact Soni Schneidewind or NicoleBoedtger for information on samples, prices and contract.

For roasted Chania coffee kindly purchase from our Online Shop or visit our offices in Kaltenkirchen. Visit the shop & Cafe 'Ein Welt Laden' located at the VHS in Kaltenkirchen , am Kretemoor 40, or pass by at our stand at the Kaltenkirchener Wochenmark every Saturday from 07:00 hrs to 12 noon.

The journey continues.....

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Coffee Farmer....

The Fall is here, temperatures have dropped drastically.The streets are devoid of life, the leaves changing colour and falling off, the nights extremely cooler ...its a time to bring in the harvest.
view of my street with most of the leaves falling

Far away in the village of my birth, it is the main season for coffee. Only it has not rained in weeks, the harvest is not good and my people are a worried lot...

a section of my father's coffee farm suffering from the Nov heat
My father  turned 66 years old in Sept. His family has been coffee growers all their life. He wakes up at 6 in the morning and heads to tend his beloved coffee trees whether in rain or sunshine. My mother will then take him breakfast around 8:am, breakfast which is mainly a cup of fermented porridge or some thin tea, which he will gulp while standing with a faraway look towards the mountain….My father planted his own coffee trees 35 years ago, my mother says that is the day he ‘’fell in love’’.
My father at the Coffee Tree Nursery checking out new coffee variety seedlings
My Paternal grandmother left the village when my father was only 16 years old. She left, in the search of work in the cities ; far away from the coffee growing villages of the Aberdares. She never returned….She died alone, away from her family. They buried her in a remote village on the banks of the Narosura.These are stories told by my father as we grew up, stories told in the evening by the cooking fire as we waited for my mother to cook the staple food of maize and beans.  My grandmother  left because of all the frustrations and hardship associated with coffee production.49 years later, not much have changed…my community still faces the same hardships.

delivering of parchment

Milling of coffee at Thageini wet mill

Thageini women coffee farmers #kedovocoffeeproject
My family is no different from the rest of the coffee producers , their days are days filled with uncertainty, and at times with hope of a better tomorrow.
Mom picking coffee at home
The #kedovocoffeeproject  tries  to pull back the curtain on the everyday lives of these amazing coffee farmers so that everyone concerned about the future of specialty coffee  better understands the complex realities of life in these coffee farming villages , where we live and work every day, where our hope is that coffee can become a better tool of development.
one of our farmers processing coffee .#kedovocoffeeproject
Coffee is a product of a long gruelling agricultural process. Years of dedication and hardwork..our work focuses extensively on the economic and social development of the people who dedicate their lives to provide us with our morning cups of coffee.
Its in this line that we have continued to support the Social Development of the communities of Kiganjo. Last month the KEDOVO gang kick started our new project on Solar Energy. We partnered with Green Light Planet Kenya Ltd to support farmers from Ndurutu Wet Mill with Solar power as an alternative source of Energy. The project will benefit 20 Farmers in the first Phase. This would not have been possible without the immense support from Heinz and Nicole of Sandtorkai Handel Papenhagen who believed us from the beginning that coffee can change lives. This would not have been possible without you all who purchase our coffees whether Green Beans or Roasted in Germany, Austria & Norway and on behalf of my people our sincere gratitude.

Technical Training of KEDOVO team & Vocal farmers by Green Light Planet

Many coffee farmers fail to earn a reliable living from coffee production. Can we level the playing field for coffee growers? We can do this by forging simplified supply chains, by forming genuine relationships with these amazing people, by giving them chances to participate in the trading of their coffee, by making sure we support the social development of these communities. My country has over 6 million people who depend on coffee production Mrs Chau on the photo below is one of them. She walks 3 kilometers to buy paraffin to use for lighting. Sometimes she does not have the 50 shillings (0.50€) to buy the paraffin and will have to improvise by lighting her house with the glow of the cooking fire .The Kedovo gang installed a system in her house...#coffeechanginglives


Solar power can provide a simple evening lighting that most of us often take for granted in cities. It can bring a huge change in the life of the growing rural generation. Our work is to facilitate channels of education for our coffee producers and their families. Solar power can bring to them the same learning tools that most urban population has. Solar energy will play a pivotal role in bringing a turnaround on Rural Exodus.
More happy families....

Growing up in a coffee growing community in Kenya my life was difficult..Coffee was and is still my Family's source of income. I walked kilometers to school barefoot and in worn shoes, sometimes on an empty stomach. At night we studied under our old kerosene lamp that my mother received as a gift on her wedding day from her family. Sometimes we didn't have 5 shillings to buy the kerosene and we owed the village shop.. We did our homework using the dying frames of the kitchen fire.Three and half decades later, many of the children of my community undergo through the same struggles. Our new project on Solar Energy brings hope and freedom to study, freedom and chances for those children to change their lives! Be part of our journey towards the economic and Social sustainability development of the communities who produce our coffee.

Zackie of Kedovo & Joseph the Mills Manager in Ndurutu showing one of the farmers how to charge her phone using Solar power

the kids from the above beneficiary learning in the evening by use of a kerosene lamp

learning using solar power as a means of energy #coffeechanginglives
Nyeri  where our #kedovocoffeeproject is located is home to extensive networks of small-scale coffee producers.  The fertile lands produce a broad range of tropical and temperate crops, and the 90% or more of the population in this rural area combine household food production with coffee acting as the cash crop. Cash is needed to pay school fees for kids, buy school requirements (books, uniforms etc), pay for transport to health centres, and then meet doctor and medicine charges. Cash also has become critical for many non-market exchanges and other social obligations.

The economic realities of these small scale farmers dictates the levels of investment, whether back to the farms itself or social development. A strong coffee sector stimulates economic and social development. Our hope is that by shedding enough light on the issues that play themselves out here every day in coffee-growing communities, we will contribute in the continued movement of the coffee industry toward more sustainable sourcing practises, at the same time supporting the social and economic development and enrich the lives of the farmers who grow our coffee..

coffee patchment drying at the Ndurutu Wet mill
We believe that the future of coffee belongs to the organized, and organized farmers are the engine to growth and sustainability in the coffee sector.
We have mainly focused on Education as a means of sustainable development, where we know that though its better than in the past, we still have a long way to go. Farming itself is a business and its important that we equip the children of the coffee producers with better chances in education and in turn they are abreast with challenges and opportunities in the coffee industry.
On Sept 30th , the Kedovo gang in Kenya finalized the first phase of the Renovation of Ndurutu Primary School in Kiganjo and handed it officially to the community.

Davie of Kedovo trying to remember his handing over speech ;)

Renovated hall which serves as a dining area for the school children

singing & dancing ;)

Kedovo team handing over first phase of the school to the community

Renovated phase: 5 classes and a Hall

Lunch time, newly built kitchen
We still though have a lot of work ahead of us where we still have 6 classes remaining to renovate and modernize, we discussed with the community and plan to build an Administration block which will house the Staffroom, Head and Deputy offices and a secure storage facility for the school books etc.
The current rooms used as offices will be modernized and equipped to be used as a Library and Computer lab respectively. By bringing in knowledge and resources to these communities, we support them to access information and communication technology which is becoming increasingly necessary to enhance equitable trade and survival.

Deputy head office- Ndurutu Primary school

head teacher office- Ndurutu Primary School

Teachers (Staffroom) Ndurutu Primary
Part of the remaining classes to be renovated
Coffee has no future without my people and other coffee producing communities all over the world, growing, picking and processing it. What will make the next generation of coffee producers decide to continue farming coffee? what will keep them in the farming villages and not migrate to cities? what will make these communities have sustainable livelihoods from coffee production? We cannot keep on throwing around the word 'Sustainability in coffee' if we cannot have solutions to those questions. We need to keep investing in sustainability of these communities both in social and economic development as well as in practises of the farmers whom we need to assure steady demand of their coffee at a fair price. Lets make these communities thrive...
The Early crop Season 2016 was really early, we managed to mill Ndurutu & Thageini coffee on time.
These great coffees arrived in Germany last week and we are amazed by the dedication of these two communities.
Arrival of our coffee container in Bremen last week

#kedovocoffeeproject crop 2016

At the warehouse...we are ready people!!

Thageini AA& Ndurutu AB Top #kedovocoffeeproject
 This time we have 3 qualities in Stock: Thageini AA Top, Ndurutu AB Top and Ndurutu PB
The #kedovocoffee is coffee that's grown in a manner that respects the environment and it's people. It's a coffee that offers economic and social sustainability to millions of families whose livelihoods depend on it. Be part of our Story....

To continue supporting these communities we have on offer Green coffee (Rohkaffee) from Ndurutu Wet Mill & Thageini Wet Mill F.O.T Bremen or Hamburg, transport within Germany & the EU arrangable at a cost. Please contact Soni Schneidewind or Nicole Boedtger for information on samples, prices and contract.

For roasted Chania coffee kindly purchase from our Online Shop or visit our offices in Kaltenkirchen. Visit the shop & Cafe 'Ein Welt Laden' located at the VHS in Kaltenkirchen , am Kretemoor 40, or pass by at our stand at the Kaltenkirchener Wochenmark every Saturday from 07:00 hrs to 12 noon.

and our work continues.....