A demonstration plot

Profile:

Kaliluni Farmers’ Co-operative Society
Product focus: Coffee
Location: Kenya

Type: Small-scale producers – 1,175 farmers
Fairtrade certified since: 2007
Contact: David Kyengu –
kalilunifcs@yahoo.com

Challenge

Pest and diseases like leaf rust and leaf miner have contributed to huge losses at Kaliluni Farmers’ Co-operative Society. Leaf rust was causing premature shedding of leaves, reducing the growth of stems. The bugs burrowed through the coffee leaves inhibiting photosynthesis. Although farmers understood they needed to apply pesticides to save their crop, they lacked adequate knowledge to identify the specific treatment.

Solution

The organisation reached out to its partner the Swedish Co-operative Centre and its miller Coffee Nap, who trained 41 farmers last year. The farmers were selected based on their good health, a key requirement when using chemicals. They gained knowledge on the different types of pesticides and how to apply them. Farmers whose coffee farms are located at higher altitude were told to spray four times more than those based at a lower altitude. To facilitate easy Fairtrade auditing, they also were taught how to keep records on pesticide use. As a final part of the training they were shown how to store pesticides safely in an airtight box.

After the training sessions the farmers set up a demonstration plot where they applied the pesticides, observing the changes for one month. Soon they started noticing the disappearance of the bugs and the rust. As a next step the farmers took the initiative of sharing their new knowledge and experiences with other farmer members.

Costs

The purchase of protective clothing and the correct pesticides; and payment of the facilitator were sponsored by Swedish Co-operative Centre together with Coffee Nap.

Kaliluni facilitated the farmers’ transport and lunch for the weeklong training. The organisation also paid the 41 farmers Ksh300 per day (USD 3) to attend the training. The farmers were also given loans to purchase the chemicals, to be paid back after the harvest.

Result

Coffee has improved in quality and quantity. Before they started using the pesticides the farmers harvested 50,000 kg per 420 acres. Today they receive 160,000kg per the same acre size.