Kaguyu Factory is located near Kerugoya town in the Ndia division of Kirinyaga county and services 850 members, who grow an average of 200 trees per farm. The most common varieties are typical to Kenya: SL-28, SL-34, and Ruiru 11. The farms in this area have red volcanic soil, and the producers also grow tea, bananas, and corn on their plots, under shade provided by macadamia, eucalyptus, and gravellea trees.
Coffee is here picked ripe and brought to the factory for depulping, washing, and soaking; farmers receive training every year from the factory manager, and “field days” hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and agrochemical companies. The factory’s water comes from the Rutui river, and there are four soaking pits for recycling and purifying the water.
Coffee in Kenya is typically traceable down to the factory, or mill level: Most farmers own between 1/8 to 1/4 of a hectare, and often grow crops other than coffee as well, which means they rely on a central processing unit for sale and processing of their coffee. Producers deliver in cherry form to a factory, where the cooperative will sort, weigh, and issue payment for the delivery. The coffee is then blended with the rest of the day’s deliveries and goes on to be processed. Because of this system, which serves many hundreds to several thoughts of smallholder farmers per factory, there is limited traceability down to the individual producers whose coffee comprises the lots.