COFFEE BY WOMEN
I grew up in the Rulindo district where I lived a relatively normal life, growing up we were not involved in coffee farming but other food crops such as beans, sweet potatoes and sorghum.
Now I earn money from coffee growing which helps in the development of my family. Partnering with Kahawatu I have gained skills based on good agriculture practices.
All the land I have now goes up to one hectare, the coffee I have planted is in good condition and I am planning to start harvesting it this year for the first time. I have a few exceptions of a number of trees that didn’t grow properly because of the sun, I am in the process of asking for replacement of those trees.
Since working with the Foundation we take care of our coffee in a serious manner, the lessons we obtained through Kahawatu include how to properly plant coffee and applying best agricultural practices and how to apply fertilizer on coffee trees.
The challenge we face is not being able to do all on farm activities such as pruning. Secondly most females whose households are headed by
men, have limited access to coffee income. In order to help female coffee farmers should be facilitated with equipment which do not require much energy to use it. Also advocate for women with limited access to income from coffee. Before working with Kahawatu I never obtained 3 tons and since I started working with Kahawatu, last year I got 4.5 tons and now I have reached 5 tons.
MARTIN KIMTAI MOCHOMU
My name is Martin Kimtai Mochomu, I am married and have five children. I am a farmer in the Kapkurongo Cooperative and have been growing since 2017. I have been doing this for three years and am therefore still relatively new to coffee growing. I have a quarter acre of coffee, that means about 150 trees, of the new Batian variety.
Right now I harvest about 440 kg per season. It is about three kilos per tree. So I still have a long way to go but through the training we have had with the agronomist, I know that next year I will be able to harvest 3.5 kilos and after that I can improve a little every year.
In the beginning I looked for jobs everywhere, sometimes I had a job and sometimes I was without. I therefore had no stable source of income and it created a lot of uncertainty for my family. I had to look around for what else I could support myself with and I chose coffee because it is easy to handle and the market is not saturated in the same way. It is also worth mentioning that it is really exciting and every day there are several activities to perform on the farm.
So far I have invested Kenya shillings 15, 000 and I will invest more in the expansion of the farm. Coffee growing has created a job for me and now also my two employees.
Through our agent, we heard about the Nestlé partnership - and we thank God for Nestlé. Coffee is a perennial crop and therefore you need to know exactly what to do. I almost gave up the coffee business before Nestlé came into the picture because we would lose so much production due to poor farming practices. It is not easy to get a good agronomist, and those that are available I can not afford. But this type of training, I think I will be able to harvest 10 kg per tree in the next five years.