The factory is located near the town of Karatina, Kirimukuya location,Thaithi sublocation in Nyeri County. Karie has 800 registered members that actively deliver coffee in any given year. Amongst the members are promoter farmers who are trained to teach small scale farmer members Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Climate Smart Agriculture from the various projects and science we have in the region.
This extension service has an immediately positive impact on coffee quality from the mill, as farmers emerge from trainings with a better understanding of the impact of fertilization, pruning and quality-driven harvest techniques on the price that their coffee receives at auction and with direct buyers.
SOILS AND CLIMATE
Karie Coffee is predominantly grown within red-volcanic soils, rich in minerals and organic matter necessary for optimum production. It experiences an annual rainfall of 1.100mm at 1,900m above sea level. In addition it enjoys cool temperatures of 16-26°C.
Rutuma Farmers’ Cooperative Society operates several factories on and around the southern slopes of Mt. Kenya, including the Karie factory. Most of the farmer members grow SL-28 and SL-34 varieties in rich volcanic soil.
Coffee is delivered fresh directly after being harvested, and is depulped before being fermented (typically overnight) and washed using fresh water.
The coffee is dried on raised beds under full sun, turned and sorted constantly during the drying process for quality.
From funds set aside from the previous year’s harvest, members of the cooperative can access pre-financing for school fees, access to farm inputs and funds for emergency needs.
The factory is receiving assistance from a field partner- Coffee Management Services (CMS).
The long term goal is to increase coffee production through farmer training, ready access to inputs, Good Agricultural Practice seminars, and providing the most current printed materials on sustainable farming. By paying the producers some of the highest returns for their coffee this objective becomes more possible.
We also strongly believe in establishing a transparent, trust based relationship with smallholder farmers, helping to support sustained industry growth throughout the country, and continuing to elevate the standards of quality coffee produced in Kenya.
In line with the rising awareness on the need to conserve the environment, the factory has dug the waste water soak pits away from the water source where the waste water is allowed to soak in back to the soil. Currently the factory does not engage in waste water treatment. Additionally the society encourages its members to plant trees on their farms.
Karie Coffee factory is run by a factory manager who oversees all activities within the factory. Together with other staff members they carry out duties such as weighing coffee, selection and grading of coffee, paying farmers and addressing farmers’ complaints.
In addition to coffee, common crops grown are banana and maize. Grevillea or macadamia trees are also planted to provide shade to the growing coffee trees.
Currently the factory offers farm inputs on credit and cash advances to farmers as incentives