Gachatha Farmers’ Cooperative Society in Nyeri County has installed a modern eco-pulping machine valued at Kshs. 6 million at its Tetu factory.
Speaking during the commissioning of the equipment, Coffee Management Services Chief Executive Officer Kamau Kuria said the machine is expected to bring down the cost of production by about 20% as it uses less water compared to the old McKinnon disc-pulper.
The new eco-pulping machine which was acquired in partnership with the European Union, Slovak Aid, Self Help Africa and AgriFi Kenya Challenge Fund requires only two litres of water to process a kilo of coffee while the McKinnon disc-pulper uses 20 litres to process a similar amount of coffee.
“The eco-pulper which we have here is a five ton per hour machine,” he said.
On grading, the official said the machine can rate coffee berries better than the one they had before and few people will be required to operate it and in the process cut down on cost.
“That is a huge saving to these farmers who will be benefitting from this new technology. This means the net payout to the farmer will improve,” he explained as he also predicted that farmers will earn more from their harvest due to a global slump in coffee production.
He further announced plans to partner with the County Government of Nyeri in order to reach the farmers and teach them on how to increase production per tree.
On his part Gachatha Cooperative Society Chairman Peter Mathenge lauded the companies for the donation saying the cooperative has been using an archaic machine installed in 1963.
He was upbeat the machine will help improve coffee grade, earning farmers more income.
Global prices for coffee have soared 55% this year, thanks to adverse weather in Brazil, a leading coffee producer prompting countries like Colombia to default on sales agreed when prices were lower in order to re-sell the coffee at higher prices.
This is after Brazil experienced drought and frost leading to a drop in total world production of coffee to 158 million bags while the demand stands at 172 million bags.
Kenya’s coffee production has dipped drastically for the second year running, pushing the country further behind some of Africa’s top producers such as Ethiopia and Uganda. By the end of September this year Kenya’s coffee production stood at a paltry 600,000 metric tons.
The country produces 400 kilograms per hectare compared to other countries which produce up to two tonnes per hectare.