Despite its proximity to Ethiopia (widely believed to be the region from which coffee originated), coffee was not cultivated in Kenya until 1893, when French Holy Ghost Fathers introduced coffee trees from Reunion Island.Coffee is one of the most important cash crops in Kenya. The main variety in Kenya is Arabica coffee (C. arabica). The stimulating effect of the coffee beverage is largely derived from the alkaloid caffeine, but cured beans have to be roasted and finely ground to bring out the characteristic coffee aroma. Economically, the most important coffee varieties are Coffea arabica called “Arabica” and Coffea canephora called “Robusta”. Robusta yields about 30% more than “Arabica”, and its price is around 30% lower. Coffee is mainly grown as a beverage, though the plant residues can provide fuel (coffee charcoal or wood) and a good mulch.


Varieties Ruiru II, K7 (for Low altitude), SL 34, Sl 28
Seed Rate 1370-2500 seedlings/Ha for traditional varieties and Ruiru II respectively
Fertilizer Rate Holes at 60cm x 60cm x 60 cm and spacing of 2.75m x 2.75m
Planting Spacing @2.0m x 2.0m for Ruiru 2.7 x 2.7 for K varieties and SL varieties. Plant population of 2000 plants.
Husbandry Vegetative propagation can be done by rooting of cuttings, grafting, top-working and micropropagation. Fill the holes 4 weeks before planting with a top soil mixed with 1 “debe” (20 litre bucket) farmyard manure plus 200 g rock phosphate. If the soil is acidic add 100 g dolomitic limestone. Coffee grows best with shade trees. Pruning is essential immediately after main crop harvesting.
Pest & Diseases Pest Name Symptoms Control
Coffee berry disease. Dark sunken lesions on mature ripe berries Spray  with copper fungicides
Coffee leaf rust Yellow powder underneath the leavesLevy shaving after attacking leaves Spray with copper fungicides
Expected Duration from Planting to Harvesting 3 to 4 years
Climatic Conditions Ideal temperatures are 18 and 24º C. The altitudes from 1400 to 2000 m (4,500-6,800 ft) with a rainfall of not less than 1000 mm per year. Coffee prefers well-drained and airy soils with pH range 4.4-5.4.
Harvesting Each year coffee is harvested during the dry season when the coffee cherries are bright red, glossy, and firm. To maximise the amount of ripe coffee harvested it is necessary to selectively pick the ripe beans from the tree by hand. Selective picking of coffee berries at 10-14-day intervals is common where harvesting extends over a period of 7-9 months.
Post Harvest and Storage Coffee stores should be dry, clean and well ventilated. Keep fully dry coffee beans on wooden tables or floors or even in ventilated bins. They should be stirred or turned every day for 10 days before bagging. They must be put in sacks as they come from the drying tables. Store for a minimum of 4 weeks and a maximum of 6 months. After that beans become woody. A relative humidity in the store of 60% at 20°C is suitable.
Growing Regions The major coffee growing regions in Kenya are the High Plateaus around Mt. Kenya, the Aberdare Range, Kisii, Nyanza, Bungoma, Nakuru and Kericho.
Expected yields Up to 50,000 kg/ha/yr for ruiru II and 25,000kg/ha/yr for traditional varieties


Processing Pulping must be done on the day coffee is picked as coffee left in the sun will start to ferment. Pulping is done to remove exocarp and mesocarp through the wet processing method after which coffee parchment is obtained. The parchment is then dried in shallow layers on raised tables or trays to moisture content of 10-11%.


Place Coffee is mostly marketed to coffee dealers, coffee mills for subsequent marketing locally and export internationally. Coffee is marketed by dealers through auctions.
Price USD 300-350 per 50kg bag at AuctionsKshs. 15 per kg for farm gate prices


Products / By Products Coffee Beverage, Husks used as fuel
Nutritional value – per 100 g / % Daily Values Pottasium  49.0 / 1%; Riboflavin 0.1 / 4%;


Today around 250,000 Kenyans are employed in the production of coffee.About 70% of Kenyan coffee is produced by small scale holders.



Income Per Hectare: Kshs 1,000,000 (50,000kgs * 20/-)Cost per Hectare: Kshs. 400,000 (40% of Income).

NET:    Kshs. 600,000 (60% of Income).

Break Even Yield (Where Cost=Income): = 2000 kgs per hectare.

Income Frequency: Income spread throughout the year.

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