Kenya: Rainforest Alliance to Support Kenyan Coffee to Meet Global Standards

Nairobi — A Non-Governmental Organization ( NGO) has partnered with some cooperative societies affiliated to Gusii Coffee farmers Cooperative Union ( GCFCU) to boost coffee production and farmers earnings.

Rainforest Alliance Regional Director,- Kenya/ Tanzania, Marion Nduta said the NGO has launched Gusii Regenerative Agriculture landscape ( GURAL) coffee project to aid certifying the coffee to meet the global standard.

She said the Alliance is building partnerships to protect and restore forest, biodiversity, improve livelihoods, promote human rights, gender equity and social inclusivity.

“We want to support tea and coffee farmers adapt and mitigate climate change through nature-based solutions and locally-led actions” Nduta said during the launching of the project at Dallas Inn hotel in Kisi town yesterday.

The Director noted high demand for coffee and tea in the global market has contributed to 75 percent of deforestation, fueled the climate change crisis, noting, over 80 percent of people in rural areas live in extreme poverty.

6 percent of companies noted the Director are driven by business interest and disregard sustainability, noting, they have no back up on agro-biodiversity and data.

“The Alliance targets to reach 1 m farmers by 2030 through the project . We want people and nature to thrive in harmony” the Director noted.

The Union’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Robert Mainya said the European Union member countries have passed laws not to allow uncertified coffee from Kenya, stressing, the Alliance’s intervention was timely.

He lauded the Alliance for piloting the project in some coffee cooperative societies, adding, all the Union’s Societies will be covered before the end of next year’s December

“The union has 28 affiliate coffee cooperative societies and 6 are being piloted. We have 60,000 farmers who produce 15 m kgs of coffee every year” Mainya said.

Alice Manoti, Nyamira Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries County Executive Committee Member lauded the Alliance for partnering with Kisii and Nyamira counties to enhance sustainable coffee production.

She said that the county has prioritized coffee production, noting the upcoming industrial park will help market the coffee in international markets to improve their earnings.

“We are ready to partner and take our coffee to the next level, manage the environment and test soil fertility to determine the right nutrients to plant specific crops to benefit farmers” Manoti said.

Nyamira County Water, Energy, Forests and Climate change CEC John Matiang’I said the county has rolled out a campaign to remove eucalyptus trees from along riparian and water sources to protect them.

She commended the Alliance for advocating for production of quality and certified coffee to be allowed and sold in European markets and fetch high prices to benefit farmers.

“If farmers produce poor quality coffee, it will not be allowed in the global market and the coffee sector will collapse” Matiang’I said