Mwiria factory is strategically positioned in a major coffee growing zone. It has a total of 1080 members of which 1060 are active while only 20 are inactive. On average each farmer has approximately 350 coffee trees and 1 hectare of land. Other crops grown by farmers in this region include passion fruits, bananas, cabbages, carrots and tea although farmers are not allowed to intercrop with coffee. Compliance with this is checked by the field committee. Villages that take their coffee to the factory are Kirigi, Kiini, Mukangu and Kathangari. The factory employs three permanent workers and approximately 30 temporary employeesduring the peak season.
At Mwiria there are 9 waste-water soak pits which are enough for draining waste water and are positioned away from the river to prevent water pollution. Napier grass and trees are planted around the pits to help in purifying the waste water. The factory is receiving assistance from our partner Coffee Management Services (CMS). The long-term goal is to increase coffee production through farmer training, input access, Good Agricultural Practice seminars, and a sustainable farming handbook updated and distributed annually. Through the pre-financing they receive, farmers are given advances for school fees and farm inputs. The factory manager is re-trained every year by CMS, in addition to field days being held by the minister of agriculture and agrochemical companies that deliver inputs to the farmers. Demonstration plots are planted at the factory to reinforce the best practices taught throughout the year.
After picking, ripe cherry is brought to the factory before it undergoes processing to remove the skin and pulp–known as the wet processing method. Wastewater is discarded in soaking pits, and is also recirculated for conservation. The factory is using a disc pulper with three sets of discs to remove the skin and fruit from the inner parchment layer that is protecting the green coffee bean. After depulping, the coffee is fermented overnight to break down the sugars, before it is cleaned, soaked and spread out on the raised drying tables. Time on the drying tables depends on climate, ambient temperature and volumes under processing, and can take from 7 to 15 days in total.
For more information about Kenyan coffee, visit our Kenya Origin Page.