Nairobi, Kenya — A group of coffee farmers in Nyeri County is experimenting with a novel style of coffee cultivation in the hopes of increasing their output and profits.
Single stem pruning is a practise that allows a farmer to just care for one stem in a coffee bush while cutting off all the others.
This kind of gardening, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, allows new stems to grow in lieu of the ones you take off.
The technique, if developed, would increase the quantity and quality of their coffee, said group chairman Patrick Muchiri Wokabi during a field visit to members’ fields.
It has the potential to double production.
“The reason we came up with this approach is that with traditional farming, when farmers care to three or more stems, the quality of coffee berries stays low, therefore premium grades like AA and AB will never be realised,” Muchiri explained.
This comes at a time when coffee output in the country has been declining as a result of many farmers’ disregard of the crop.
He claims that they intend to establish their own plant to ensure that they can market their own harvest once customers have been identified.
“As a group, we don’t want to mix our harvest with that of other growers since we know that most of their coffee is of inferior quality.”
In comparison to the 1980s, when Kenya had a manufacturing capacity of 200,000 metric tonnes per year, output has dropped to just 20,000 metric tonnes per year.