Region Mathira West District, Nyeri
Farm About 770 smallholder farmer members of Gikanda Farmer Cooperative Society (F.C.S.)
Variety SL-28, SL-34, Ruiru 11
Proc. Method Washed
Altitude 1600–1900 masl
The Gichathaini factory is one of three washing stations that comprise the Gikanda Farmers Cooperative Society (F.C.S.), which is in the Mathira West district of Nyeri. The factory itself is owned by the farmers who deliver their cherries here: There are about 1,045 registered members and 770 active members who utilize the mill and, subsequently, are able to make elective decisions regarding factory representation and management. The factory is located about 6 kilometers from Karatina town, and the conditions in the area are typically ideal for coffee: abundant rainfall, reliable average temperatures, fertile soil, and fresh water from the Ragati river.
Coffee is picked and delivered ripe to the factory, where it is sorted before being depulped the same day as delivery. It is fermented overnight, washed using clean Ragati river water, and then moved to the drying beds. The water used in the washing process is recirculated for conservation purposes, and moved to soak pits away from the fresh-water sources to prevent contamination.
Coffee in Kenya is typically traceable down to the factory, or mill level: Most farmers own between 1/8 to 1/4 of a hectare, and often grow crops other than coffee as well, which means they rely on a central processing unit for sale and processing of their coffee. Producers deliver in cherry form to a factory, where the cooperative will sort, weigh, and issue payment for the delivery. The coffee is then blended with the rest of the day’s deliveries and goes on to be processed. Because of this system, which serves many hundreds to several thoughts of smallholder farmers per factory, there is limited traceability down to the individual producers whose coffee comprises the lots.
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