This AA lot represents select lots from thirty-three small estate owners around the townships of Ngewa and Komothai in the sub-counties of Githunguri and Gatundu South of Kiambu. This lot champions full traceability and a rare connection between traditional smallholders and a final buyer to agitate for producer-determined milling and marketing. The group specifically instructed their nominated mill to process a chosen selection of their lots together, knowing that we would instruct our exporter to bid for the lot on our behalf at auction.
The association (Ngewa Komothai) was first registered under the Societies Act on 1st August 2016 and later licensed by the Coffee Directorate on 1st July 2017. It’s one of the rare collectives of small estates that exists in Kenya and is exactly the kind of supply chain shortening we’d like to see more of. To qualify as a small Estate a producer needs to have a minimum of 2000 trees. Sadly, this amount doesn’t yield enough coffee to have it milled and marketed under its own name, hence the collective identity (and make-up) of this lot.
Via our sourcing arm, Shared Source, we have been purchasing from several of the members of the group for three harvests now, and we have visited many of the members. All smallholders process and dry parchment on their farm, and this is the first time they have known the final buyer.
Cherries are sorted prior to depulping to remove over and under-ripe cherries. Fermentation uses no water and parchment is then fully washed with clean water. Full care is taken to capture mucilage run-off and avoid contamination. Parchment is sun-dried on raised beds. Shared Source’s unique relationship with our independent exporter has afforded us the opportunity to connect with small and medium estates, and to successfully make this purchase. Fully-traceable coffees in Kenya has historically been restricted to either large Estates capable of producing the high volumes of parchment coffees that dry mills are willing to process and market separately, or, alternatively, less traceably in practice, Cooperative-owned factories which consist of cherries from hundreds of smallholders.
The group collectively receives agricultural training as part of the Volcafe Way program, which focuses on efficient and environmentally-smart farming, many producers are applying less chemical fertilizers and spending less money on inputs, in some cases saving up to 30%.
The producers whose parchment made up the AA lot here received USD$2.90 per pound of finished green coffee for this purchase. Purchased by our export partner during January 2019 via highest bid at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange.
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