As some of you might have noticed there is a local political challenge in regards to the coffee supply from the Cooperative Societies in Nyeri at the moment. Se PDF at the bottom of the post for a statement sent out recently from our exporting partner in Kenya.
I am currently in Africa cupping and buying coffees from Kenya and Ethiopia. I just passed by Kenya to cup the first incoming high quality lots and the potential for this harvest seems to be great. There are also way bigger amounts of AA’s this year than the last, estimated to be around 40%. Before you continue to read the below I can assure all of our clients that we will access great Kenyan coffees again this year, but it might be challenging, at least for now, to get hold of coffee from the exact same Cooperative mills and producers as previous years.
We normally buy our coffees in Kenya through the direct/second window system. Much of the coffee we buy comes from a dry mill in Nyeri (CKCM) that receives all the parchment from related cooperatives and factories like Gitchathaini, Thunguri, Tegu, Karogoto etc. The mill is managed by a company called CMS (Coffee Management Services) that is also the marketing agent the Cooperatives and farmers, responsible for bringing the coffees to the marketplace. CMS also assists the cooperatives and growers on quality at site and in the fields. Our coffee is processed to export standard and often packed in either vacuum or grainpro in an exporter’s factory in Nairobi.
Through this brilliant system we can normally access coffees from some of the greatest Copperatives in Nyeri, directly, without having to buy coffees that have been going through the coffee auction system. This seems at present and short term to be challenging from many of the Nyeri Cooperatives, at least until the situation is settled.
The short version is that the recently elected governor is forcing the Factories (wet mills) under the Cooperative Societies to deliver all their coffee to the governmental owned mill. This resulted in the growers, and cooperatives taking their local government authority to the High court claiming their constitutional right to choose with whom and where they market and mill their coffee. On top of that last Thursday CKCM (the dry mill we work through) was issued an Enforcement order which has, basically, ground its operations to a halt. The document cites various failures to acquire necessary permits and licenses to carry out its business, including environmental and health and safety assessments.
I am not concerned longer term, as this makes no sense for anyone in the actual supply chain, and hopefully it will be resolved within days or weeks so that we are going back to normal buying practices.
For more information read this announcement from Dormans Coffee LTD.