Boost for East African Coffee Farmers

November 15, 2013

Over ninety thousand small-scale coffee farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania stand to benefit from the 4S@Scale programme that will see their farms being managed as business units.

The programme was officially launched on November 8 by Dutch Ambassador to Kenya, Joost Reijntjes. 4S@Scale is a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) with the overall objective of improving the livelihoods of farmers in the three countries. This five year programme is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Hivos, Ecom Agroindustrial Corp. Ltd and Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers – KENFAP. Other partners include Sustainable Management Services (SMS), Tutunze Kahawa Ltd (Tanzania) and Kawacom Uganda Ltd.

The programme intends to provide support to farmers that will help them improve the quality and quantity of their coffee crop, reduce farming costs, develop access to new markets and diversify their income streams. Furthermore, an environmental component has been incorporated into the scheme that will see the introduction of biogas digesters to farmer’s households.

 “Most of the coffee farmers, in Kenya for instance, are between the ages of 50-60 years, but this programme seeks to have more youth and more women involved in various capacities of the coffee production and in the coffee sector. This programme is not just about coffee farms, which is why we are taking an integrated approach that considers the production process, building capacity of the co-operatives and increasing farmers’ access to credit,”  says Geoffery Nyamota, Hivos Green Entrepreneurship manager.

Over the next year, 30,000 farmers in Kenya will be targeted by the programme in six counties.  Another 20,000 farmers will be targeted in Uganda in 2014, with 10,000 in Tanzania and another 30,000 farmers in Kenya targeted for 2015.

“Hivos has been working in the coffee sector for the last six years, this was when our partnership with Ecom begun. Our collaboration has seen the development of a training programme that has helped over 85,000 farmers improve their coffee yields, quality and seen greater transparency in the coffee production process. This new programme now takes our work in the sector to the next level,” says Caroline Mukeku, 4S@Scale’s  Programme Officer.

The programme intends to work with different players in the sector to ensure that coffee farmers get the best output from their produce and the good reputation of Kenyan and East African coffee is maintained.