The event held at the residence of the Italian Ambassador to Kenya, Roberto Natali, to share the results and best practices of the “Arabika: Relaunch of gourmet coffee production in Kenya” project was a significant milestone. The project, funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and implemented by European Committee for Training and Agriculture- CEFA in collaboration with AVSI and the E4Impact Foundation, has made substantial progress in its second year.
The event was attended by various stakeholders, including the Italian Ambassador, representatives from the Kenyan government, coffee cooperatives, and partner organizations. The project focuses on the entire coffee supply chain, aiming to enhance the income and resilience of small-scale coffee producers in rural communities, particularly women and young people. It emphasizes improving market access and sustainability.
Investment and Scale:
With a significant investment of €3 million, the project is being carried out in seven Kenyan counties, engaging 21 cooperatives and over 40,000 smallholder coffee farmers.
Notable achievements mentioned during the event included renovating coffee tasting laboratories, providing modern machinery and equipment, extensive training programs, and the identification of seven new Kenyan coffee brands, which will be officially registered soon.
The Italian Ambassador Roberto Natali, highlighted the importance of collaboration and shared growth between Italy and Kenya in supporting rural communities and leveraging Italian best practices. The initiative brings Italian expertise in the coffee sector to Kenya, contributing to the development and growth of the coffee supply chain in the country.
Giovanni Grandi, Head of the Nairobi Regional Office of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, emphasized that this initiative aligns with the goal of creating new opportunities for sustainable growth and strengthening a fundamental supply chain for the Kenyan economy.
The endorsement of this project by Bungoma governor; Kenneth Lusaka, who is also the Chair of the Agricultural Committee at the Council of Governors, was significant. His words underlined the importance of promoting coffee not only in the seven counties directly involved in the project but also in other parts of the country. This broader vision highlights the potential for the project to serve as a model for the revitalization of the coffee industry on a national scale, addressing the challenges that have historically impacted coffee production in Kenya.
These statements reflect a shared commitment to not only tackle the challenges faced by the coffee industry but also to create a sustainable and thriving coffee sector that can benefit both local communities and the Kenyan economy as a whole.
The “Arabika” project exemplifies international cooperation and the positive impact of such collaborations on rural communities and economic development. It’s a testament to the shared commitment to promoting sustainability, innovation, and economic opportunities in the coffee industry in Kenya.
Author: Stella Aswani- Project Communications Officer