The new factory will increase income, improve livelihoods and aid poverty eradication for the farmers who used to incur a higher cost by transporting their coffee products to other regions like Central and Eldoret.
The livelihoods of local farmers in Baringo County are set to change thanks to an 85-million-shilling coffee mill set up by the Kenyan government and a Korean Best Friend’s investor.
The commissioned mill, Cha Coffee Factory was licensed on a 2.5-acre farm in Tugen hills near Katimok forest in Ossen-Kabartonjo ward, Baringo North sub-county, on Friday.
The factory costs 85 million shillings, 70 million of which was contributed by Rev. Cha Bo Yong, a Korean investor and World Best Friends Organization CEO, and 15 million shillings contributed by the County Government.
Speaking during the commissioning of the new factory, Isabella Nkonge, Head of the Coffee Directorate at Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), said that the new mill will improve the lives of many farmers in the county as well as the neighboring communities.
“The new factory will increase income, improve livelihoods and aid poverty eradication for the farmers who used to incur a higher cost by transporting their coffee products to other regions like Central and Eldoret,” Ms. Nkonge said.
“The National Government is ready to support this project to reach greater heights since it is in line with the big four agenda aimed at putting money in the pockets of local farmers,” she added while calling upon all stakeholders to develop a strategy for sustaining the mill in to achieve its goal of helping farmers.
“Our core target is to ensure quality and see to it that farmers work and get money in their pockets,” Nkonge said as she handed the operation license to the mill, saying it has been assessed and fully certified.
“It is one among the best quality coffee mills we have in Kenya,” she said.
Baringo’s County boss, Stanley Kiptis, welcomed the new factory saying it comes to a reprieve to farmers stifled by middlemen purchasing their coffee at cutthroat prices.
“We have been having a series of bilateral talks with the Korean government about the establishment of the coffee mill since 2013,” Governor Kiptis said.
He added that the Korean investor chose Baringo coffee because of its organic and natural sweet test, which “could be as a result of temperatures and favorable soil.”
Kiptis detailed that the products from the factory will fetch the best prices from the coffee market in South Korea and other parts of the world.
“This is the only way to evade cartels and bureaucracies involved in supply and marketing of agricultural produce,” he said.
Currently, coffee farmers in Baringo County produce an average of 100 tons of coffee beans annually. The new factory, which has a milling capacity of 1.2 tons of cherries per hour will be able to grind the farmer’s coffee in less than two weeks once it is finished.
The Governor appealed to coffee farmers from across the country to consider bringing their coffee for milling, saying they will offer the best market prices.
He further promised to donate some 200,000 coffee seedlings and fertilizer to farmers to increase their yield. The Korean investor pledged to purchase some 100 pulping machines, a bulk of which will go to the 26 cooperative societies within Baringo and the rest to individual farmers.
Also present during the commissioning of the plant were Laikipia Governor Nderitu Muriithi and Wildlife Principal Secretary Prof Fred Segor.