The Union has 34 coffee societies who are engaged in coffee production, processing and marketing spread across Machakos and Makueni Counties.
Coffee farmers & cooperative societies (FCS) that are affiliated to the Union include:
The Union offers the societies services that include:
- Coffee milling and marketing: Coffee from factories is taken to the Union mill for processing , value addition and marketing.
- Education and training: With this programme societies are helped to develop and implement strategic plans as well as train staff for improved performance. Through the Union the societies are certified to meet international quality standards and therefore helped to access premium market prices.
- Provision of farm inputs at subsidized prices: The subsidized inputs are supplied through merchandise stores established by the Union for the purpose. So far the Union is operating stores located at Tala, Kangundo and Kakuyuni. The farm inputs include: farm chemicals (herbicides, fungicides), seeds and fertilizers. Farmers also benefit from government subsidized farm products which pass through the Union. This has led to increased coffee production.
Other services offered by the Union to member coffee societies include:
- Transport of coffee to the milling plant
- Bookkeeping and accountancy services
- Establishment of coffee nurseries in all our affiliated societies
The union also lobbies on behalf of member societies. It has been in the forefront in negotiating for favorable terms on coffee cess as well as environmental issues with National Environmental Management Agency (NEMA).
The Union and its affiliates are certified for ethical standards and responsible practices,quality and consistency. Certifications include: UTZ CafÃ©, Flocert, Rain Forest Alliance and WFTO.
Through the Unionâ€™s initiative, Lower Eastern Coffee Mill (LECOM) was started in 2013. With the mill, farmers are making enormous savings on milling and transport costs they have previously been incurring when taking the produce for processing outside the region. Specifically, the mill has had the following benefits for farmers:
- Reduced costs of milling
- Created direct and indirect employment
- Increased savings in transport costs
- Reduced milling loses
- Created opportunities for value addition, thus the Union has been able to develop a local coffee brand. Use of coffee waste as charcoal has not only benefitted the farmers but is helping in conserving forests.
The mill is owned by the 34 affiliate cooperative societies.