KAYS COFFEE ESTATE is family owned business, where the owners are business
entrepreneurs coffee, tea and dairy farming as well as in real estate. The farm is next to
river Theta, a tributary sourcing from aberdare forest and neighbor Thika-Nairobi
Superhighway. The farm owners has engaged experienced farm manager and agronomist
who manager day to day operations of the farm during the season. The management
work closely with coffee experts to maximize better harvest and market returns. Among
them is Simon Kaniaru Gakinya , all sessions coffee value chain expert who is offering
platform for specialty market for their premium grades. The farm is located in the
highlands around the slopes of Aberdare ranges and Mount Kenya in Kiambu County,
about 30 kilometers from Nairobi capital City and 15 kilometer from Thika industrial
hub city. The farm is surrounded by upcoming real estates and business centres. The
coffee bushes were established in early 60s with SL28 variety and Ruiru II in early 90s.
The history behind it is that the farm was established during the colonial period before
Kenya attained independence. During this time coffee farming was core foreign earner
competing with tea. During the establishment time, the currency and dollar rate were
stable and returns were high, as labour and inputs were affordable. The farm has 25
hectares ( 80%) under coffee. The farm has agro-forest and rear both sheep and goats,
whose manure is applied into the coffee bushes. The family owning the coffee farm has
withstood pressure to change land use from real estate establishment mushrooming
and urbanization in the environs. To express their passion for coffee they plant more
coffee bushes in the open spaces with a target to realize 35,000 bushes from 33,000.
They continue to practice sustainable coffee farming with traceability, focusing on high
premium quality green beans for targeting specialty niche markets. The farm owner has
engaged professional farm managers and supervisors who team up to run the daily
operation schedules. There are also temporary workers consisting of 18 years and above
old youths and women whose number numbers are dictated by production activities
around the year. The farm management offers equal opportunities to all genders and
also seeks experts advice when necessary.
The farm grows SL28 variety about 65% of coffee bushes and Ruiru II about 35% of total
bushes The farm uses wet-milling, where after harvesting cherries are pulped,
fermented and washed , dried ready for dry milling and grading.
What is important to the farm owner is continuity in sustainable coffee growing to
ensure the supply chain is maintained both at production to the market ends. Also
ensuring the coffee is sustainably produced, with traceability and continuous
improvement in quality and quantity. Their other most important thing is to ensure 70%
of our coffee ventures into specialty markets where we can build long term relationships
with potential buyers. The other crucial thing is to create jobs for our youths and women.
Also protecting and ensuring a sustainable environment in our green growth economy.