The new opportunities are meant to boost the coffee farming industry.

A new study from the International Trade Centre (ICT) came up with ways for East Africa’s coffee farmers which would bring high returns. It reported that farmers can grab a big piece of the pie by participating in activities that add value to their crop. The report that was launched last week at the African Fine Coffees Conference and Exhibition in Mombasa, Kenya, was a springboard to discuss how farmers could get better prices for raw beans, learn about branding and consumer marketing, and develop business partnership in foreign markets. “While consumption is booming, many origin countries that rely on coffee for foreign exchange earnings are facing a crisis in prices, as well as a longer-term challenge of sustainability,” the report says. “Without mitigating solutions, climate change threatens to destroy large growing areas. Other problems include high production costs, low yields, urbanization, ageing farming populations and lack of access to finance,” the report adds.

High-value activities

According to the International Trade Centre (ICT), new opportunities have emerged to set up direct to market sales channels and innovative relationship to roast, package and market coffee that would boost the coffee farming industry. Farmers can sell their coffee locally, as markets in east Africa remain largely untapped. The site also states that farmers can also export roasted coffee, sell through e-commerce channels or export raw coffee that is then roasted and packaged in the consuming country.

Poultry Farming Taken A Whole New Level

For those who think poultry farming is only about keeping chicken either for domestic or commercial purposes, well a farmer in Tharaka Nithi County has something in store for you. Kariuki Kamunde has taken his poultry farming a notch higher where he practices his own type of mixed farming that includes cultivation of crops, rearing of various livestock and fish keeping besides keeping a variety of bird species to maximize the return on his small piece of land. Kamunde a farmer from Chogoria ward, Maara Sub-county has been practicing mixed farming where he keeps pigs, goats, dairy cattle, grows coffee and tea besides a variety of food crops. He later ventured into and more recently diversified his poultry keeping to include very rare species of domestic birds after visiting another farmer in Muthambi ward in the same Sub-county. Being a first-born in a family of five, Kariuki says that he faced a myriad of challenges as he grew up in a humble background. He lost his father at the tender age of fourteen and was left as the sole helper to his mother to raise his four younger siblings. Three years later his mother passed on too. Due to financial constraints he did not get a chance to get an education that would qualify him to seek the white collar jobs that are the darling of many in the society. After struggling to complete secondary education, Kariuki decided to venture into farming to make ends meet. When KNA visited him this week, Kariuki disclosed that he got his knowledge on how to practice good farming from his late mother who was a very hard-working woman till she died in the year 2007 at the age of 27. He inherited some tea bushes and coffee plants from his late parents. To avoid purchasing foodstuffs out of his meagre earnings from his two cash crops started planting food crops that included maize, beans and arrowroots. But what caught the eye of KNA in his farming is his type of poultry farm. The 29-year-old father of two keeps very rare species of domestic birds such as ducks, pigeons, turkeys and guinea fouls along with chicken. He says that he got the idea to keep these birds while he was visiting a relative one day in Marima location, where he found a farmer with some very rare birds that he claimed were very expensive when buying and very rare to find.