Nyeri Hill Farm is a coffee farm estate located at an altitude of around 2,000 meters in Nyeri County. It is owned by the Archdiocese of Nyeri and consists of two factories: Nyeri hill farm and Kamwenja. At Nyeri Hill Farm, coffee is produced with pride and care and sold with dignity and with knowledge and understanding of the coffee market and its customers’ needs. Nyeri Hill Farm was established by the Consolata fathers in 1904. They began growing coffee in 1914. Coffee does well in areas around 1,800 m above sea level with annual rainfall of 1200 mm. However, Nyeri Hill Farm gets an average of just 950 mm of rainfall per year, though some years are wetter than others. In response to recent weather changes, the farm has started installing an irrigation system (1/3 of the farm is currently served by a drip irrigation system, and the system will be expanded to cover the entire farm). In addition, Nyeri Hill Farm and the Archdiocese Of Nyeri have invested in machinery for wet milling of coffee cherries and in a water recycling system which reduces water wastage, contamination and costs. The Farm has also invested in hulling of the coffee husks, which are used on site as organic manure. The hulling process has the added benefit of reducing the cost of production.
The farm has its own coffee cupping and grading lab, and produces four different coffee products: dry coffee (Mbuni); unhusked coffee, which is produced at the farm’s processing plant and which is ready for direct sales; green beans, which are ready for roasting at the farm; and direct sales and roasted beans. During roasting, the green beans are heated to 205 °F for 8-15 minutes. Nyeri Hill Farm’s roasting machine, which runs on electricity or LPG, can roast 1-2 kgs of beans at a time. After roasting, the beans are cooled and stored for three days before being packaged in packets of 250g. The finished product is sold at the Farm’s coffee shop and other markets.
The total land under cultivation at Nyeri Hill Farm is 344 hectares, with 398,530 coffee bushes. In 2018-2019, the farm produced 325,000 kgs of coffee. The varieties of coffee the Farm produces are Arabica 82% SL-28, 14% Ruiru-11 and 2% Batian. The farm has its own coffee nurseries. Coffee bushes are uprooted after six years and replaced with young trees. This process helps to increase production, since older trees are more prone to disease, produce lower yields per branch and produce lighter berries.
Nyeri Hill Farm and the Archdiocese promote business diversification, diversifying farmers’ income sources by closing deals with dairy and pig farms. As mentioned previously, Nyeri Hill Farm itself has a coffee shop and factory. Ninety percent of the farm’s employees hail from the local community.
Nyeri Hill Farm and the Archdiocese of Nyeri aim to improve farmers’ quality of life by seeking better prices and higher returns through promoting sustainable, production, processing and marketing technologies.