More than 700,000 smallholder farmers and their families earn their living from coffee production in Kenya. But the challenges they face are significant: low productivity, high costs, weak farmer groups, climate change, systemic poverty, aging coffee trees and farmers, and social inequality.
To tackle these challenges, Kenya’s coffee sector launched the Kenya Coffee Platform last month. This association brings together stakeholders—companies, farmers, and civil society—as a means to meet and discuss ways to make Kenya’s coffee sector more sustainable.
Mwangi Kiumjuri, cabinet secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation, hopes the platform will enable “constructive industry dialogue where all players are welcome and encouraged to make their voice count.”
Since 2016, African Fine Coffee Association (AFCA), Solidaridad, the Sector Partnership Program of the Rainforest Alliance (recently merged with UTZ) and Global Coffee Platform (GCP), have been working toward creating an inclusive and participatory platform for Kenya’s coffee stakeholders. Here supply chain actors, farmers, farmer organizations, sector organizations, civil society organizations, private sector, governments, standards, development partners and others can get together to revive the once-thriving coffee industry in Kenya.
The Kenya Coffee Platform has identified different priority issues such as: increasing productivity, tackling climate change, improving extension and training materials, and including women and youth. All of these are crucial for the future of the coffee sector. The Rainforest Alliance is proud to support The Kenya Coffee Platform in its efforts to achieve these goals.
“We believe that only when all stakeholders are working together can we drive sector change and sustainability. The challenges and opportunities ahead of us are huge; no one can solve them alone. However, if we work together, everyone—and most importantly the coffee farmer—can benefit,” says Christiane Hornikel of the Rainforest Alliance. “The Kenya Coffee Platform is an excellent opportunity to put this ambition on sector-wide collaboration into practice.”