Small-scale coffee farmers in Kenya are increasingly processing their coffee to get better prices by securing a share of the profitable premium export market where quality coffee beans get a premium price.
According to data from the Nairobi Coffee Exchange, top quality coffee went up to 45,326 shillings (about $427) per 50-kg bag. After the coffee beans are initially processed, they are taken to a miller where it is milled separately and then graded, ready for auction, or direct export.
In Kenya, green harvested coffee is taken to centralised washing stations and processing facilities where the different grades are combined. Grading happens after the coffee is milled, but the final payment is usually an average of the price fetched by the combined grades, meaning that those farmers who have a better grade are not rewarded.
Kenya’s ministry of agriculture has been looking for new coffee markets in China and the Middle East to reduce the need for the traditional European market.
The farmers stated that coffee processing on the farm had enabled some of them to earn double the amount of money earned by other coffee farmers who sell through cooperative societies.