Kenya – To increase coffee production and farmers’ income, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) has joined with a few cooperative societies connected to the Gusii Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (GCFCU).
The Gusii Regenerative Agriculture Landscape (GURAL) coffee initiative was started by Rainforest Alliance Regional Director for Kenya/Tanzania, Marion Nduta, to assist in certifying the coffee to meet international standards.
“We aim to assist tea and coffee growers in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change by using locally-led initiatives and nature-based solutions,” Nduta stated yesterday during the project’s opening at the Dallas Inn of Kisi town.
According to her, the Alliance is forming alliances to advance social inclusion, human rights, gender parity, and the preservation and restoration of forests and biodiversity.
The Director pointed out that over 80% of people live in extreme poverty in rural regions, and that the global market’s strong demand for coffee and tea has contributed to 75% of deforestation and the climate change catastrophe.
Six percent of the enterprises said the director is motivated by business interests and ignores sustainability, adding that they lack supporting evidence from data and agro-biodiversity.
Through the project, the Alliance hopes to reach one million farmers by 2030. The Director stated, “We want people and nature to thrive in harmony.”
The European Union’s chief executive officer, Dr. Robert Mainya, emphasized that the Alliance’s participation was appropriate and that member states have approved laws prohibiting the import of uncertified coffee from Kenya.
He praised the Alliance for implementing the project in a few coffee cooperative societies and said that by the end of the December deadline next year, all of the Union’s societies will be covered.
There are 28 affiliated coffee cooperative societies in the union, six of which are in the pilot program. 15 million kilograms of coffee are produced annually by 60,000 farmers, according to Mainya.
The Alliance was praised by Alice Manoti, a member of the Nyamira Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries County Executive Committee, for their collaboration with Kisii and Nyamira counties in order to improve sustainable coffee production.
The county has made coffee production a priority, she said, adding that the planned industrial park will assist market the coffee in foreign markets to increase profits.
In order to help farmers, Manoti stated, “We are prepared to collaborate and take our coffee to the next level, manage the environment, and test soil fertility to determine the right nutrients to plant specific crops.”
According to John Matiang’I, the CEC for Water, Energy, Forests, and Climate Change at Nyamira County, the county has launched an initiative to preserve riparian areas and water supplies by removing eucalyptus trees.
She praised the Alliance for pushing for the production of high-quality, certified coffee to be permitted in European markets and to command premium pricing that will help farmers.
“The coffee industry will collapse if farmers produce low-quality coffee because it will not be allowed in the global market,” stated Matiang’I.