Ruthaka Farmers Cooperative Society is in the Mukurwe district in Central Kenya. The coop has 4028 members which have farms in the altitude ranging from 1650 – 1700 meters above sea level. The farmers deliver their coffees to 5 wet mills and 2 collection centres.
The Ruthaka farmers use Sustainable Management Services as a marketer (Adviser as regards agricultural practices, chemical utilization, canopy management and much more).
For our visit they had gathered the board members of the Ruthaka Farmers Cooperative Society, who all are representative of the wetmills/collection centers.
Agnes Muchiri (left), production officer at Sustainable Management Services (SMS) said welcome. It was clear that the cooperation with SMS had changed the way the farmers saw themselves and their crop – to the better. One of the most important trainings made by SMS is to get the women (wives of the farmers) involved in the farming of the coffee.
Agnes used the metaphor “It you educate a woman you educate a whole nation – if you educate a man you educate one person:” The idea is that the whole family helps out to make the harvest run smoothly, including bringing tea to the farmer working in the field, taking care of the compost or sorting. Next up was a training in how to predict the weather for the coming days, in order to plan the farming.
After this we visited the Central Kenya Coffee Mills, where we were greeted by Peter Kimata, who showed us around the dry mill and explained the system for numbering each consignment on the bags.
There was a lot of activity in the milling hall: Stacking, hulling, sweeping – and sealing the bags with a sewing machine.
The cupping we had afterwards was one of the memorable ones: Muchoki, Karagoto and Kangocho were on the table as AA’s, AB’s and PB’s. People took several rounds at the cups. Here is Rhoda and Lauri slurping.