Kenya Iyego Farmers Cooperative
Type of producer: Iyego Farmers Co-Op Society & Machakos District Co-Op Union Ltd.
The Iyego Farmers Cooperative Society was established and registered in May 1959 with 600 members. It later renamed itself the Iyego Coffee Growers Cooperative Society to better represent its members’ mandate. Today, the society is 7,528 members strong—approximately 4,500 of whom are active—and focuses exclusively on coffee. On average, members farm about a one-third hectare of planted coffee.
The Cooperative Society is fully owned by its members, who contribute shares and are issued share certificates. It’s also regulated by the Cooperatives Act. Members elect 9 board members and 3 supervisory committee members, who oversee day-to-day operations. There are also 70 permanent staff members under the direction of a Secretary Manager. During peak harvest time, seasonal workers are hired to assist with production.
Good Practices and Nursery Projects
The Society shares good agricultural practices with its members, from crop establishment through crop development and harvesting. Members are trained in coffee husbandry, plant nutrition, pest and disease control, soil health and soil conservation.
The Iyego Society has also invested in a coffee nursery project and has new seedling varieties, such as Batian and grafted Ruiru 11, which are resistant to leaf rust and Coffee Berry disease. Farmers are offered seedlings at subsidized prices and on credit for three years. Repayment is issued from the earnings harvested from the issued seedlings.
Going forward, it hopes to upgrade its processing facilities, increase the funds it can offer on credit and better adapt to climate change. It’s also concerned that most of its farmers are older, and is considering how it will develop going forward.