Kenya: Coffee Farmers Turn to Single Stem Pruning to Increase Production

A farmer picks coffee berries (file photo).

Nairobi — A group of coffee farmers from Nyeri county are adopting a new method of coffee farming which they hope will increase their production and earnings.

The method, dubbed single stem pruning, allows a farmer to only tend to one stem in a coffee bush, and cut off all the others.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, this way of farming enables new stems to grow in the place of the stems you cut off.

Speaking during a field visit to members' farms the group's chairman Patrick Muchiri Wokabi said the system, if perfected, will improve the production and quality of their coffee.

It could also increase production by two folds.

"The reason why we have come up with this model is that with normal farming where farmers tend to three or more stems, the quality of coffee berries remains poor so grades such as AA and AB which fetch premium prices can never be realised" said Muchiri.

This comes at a time when Coffee production in the country has been on downward trend due to neglect of farming of the crop by many farmers.

He says that they are planning to build their own factory to ensure that they markert their own crop after identifying buyers.

"We as a group do not want to mix our crop with that from other farmers since we know most of their produce is low grade coffee."

The country's production has gone down to a mere 20,000 metric tonnes in a year unlike in the eighties when Kenya had double this production capacity.

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