Gathaithi is a coffee factory supplied by the Gathaithi Farmer’s Cooperative Society. The farms that comprise the society are located in the Nyeri district of the Central province of Kenya, about 160 kilometers north of Nairobi. The society is made up of smallholder farmers with an average of 250 trees per farmer; most trees are SL28, with a small amount of the Ruiru 11 variety. In addition to coffee, common crops grown are banana and maize. Gravellea or macadamia trees may also be planted to provide shade to the growing coffee trees.
After pulping, the coffee is fermented overnight to break down the sugars, before traveling through channels to the soaking tank where the coffee is carefully cleaned, soaked and spread out on the raised drying tables. Time on the drying tables depends on climate, ambient temperature and total production volume undergoing processing. Drying can take from 7 to 15 days in total. Continuous sorting and hand turning of the parchment takes place throughout the drying process.
From funds set aside from the previous year’s harvest, members of the cooperative can access prefinancing for school fees, access to farm inputs and funds for emergency needs.
The factory is receiving assistance from a field partner; Coffee Management Services (CMS). The long term goal is to increase coffee production through farmer training, ready access to inputs, Good Agricultural Practice seminars, and providing the most current printed materials on sustainable farming.
By paying the producers some of the highest returns for their coffee this objective becomes more possible. We strongly believe in establishing a transparent, trust based relationship with smallholder farmers, helping to support sustained industry growth throughout the country, and continuing to elevate the standards of quality coffee produced in Kenya.