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Food and beverage company plans to improve coffee farmers’ yields

Coffee farmer picking mature beries.

Nestle Kenya Limited, a food and beverage company which manufactures Nescafé, Dolce Gusto, Zoégas and Nespresso among other brand products is working with over 42,000 farmers spread across Kiambu, Muranga, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Embu Tharaka Nithi and Meru counties under NescafePlan to improve their coffee production.

The farmers who are require to grow Batian coffee variety due to its resistance to Coffee Berry Disease (CBD) and leafrust disease, has deep rooting system and high production of coffee berries will be provided with training on coffee production, subsidised fertiliser, finance and technical assistance among others.

“Nestle aims to improve farmers’ yields by giving them opportunity to access high quality diseases resistant coffee plantlets through establishment of nurseries, farm practice trainings and to particularly empower women and youth to be involved in coffee farming and management,” said Aaron Fenu, Nestle Public Affairs Manager.

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Since Nestle do not contract farmers directly, the company has partnered with Coffee Management Services Ltd (CMS) as the implementing partner whereby CMS is given annual renewable contract by farmers to provide milling and marketing services.

“The units in the Nescafeplan are therefore units being provided services by CMS and are specifically identified to benefit from the Nescafeplan initiative support,” said Peter Kimata, CMS agronomist.

Any farmer who wants to be part of Nescafe Plan must be in groups and not individual farmers unless they are coffee estates. These farmers then approach CMS through their representatives for service provision.

“A meeting between CMS and the farmer representatives is held where a one-year-contract is signed. CMS writes a project proposal to Nestle identifying units that may be assisted by the company through Nescafeplan. Once approved, the units are contacted, meeting held and the Nescafeplan activities are rolled out,” said Kimata.

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In this plan, farmers are paid between Sh75 and Sh105, averagely Sh78 per kilogram of coffee berries delivered. These are prices negotiated by CMS on behalf of farmers as the service works towards having farmers realise better prices for their produce through market linkages.

“We pay farmers through bank accounts since we deal with farmer units or groups. The payment is done three to four months after delivery of the produce by farmers,” said Kimata.

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However, farmers are required to incur transport costs from their farms to the market or millers as they are the owners of their produce until it is sold.

“Nestle is like any other buyer in the value chain hence cannot foot transport for what it has not bought,” said Fenu.

“Currently CMS markets 23 per cent of the Kenyan coffee. 20 per cent of coffee produce handled by CMS comes from the Nesafeplan units or farmer groups.”

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