Empowering Coffee Farmers Through Value Addition

By: Chris Davidson

“Empowering Coffee Farmers Through Value Addition” – Othaya Farmers Cooperative Society Statement

Othaya Farmers Cooperative Society is an organization of 19 small wet mills (known as “factories,”) in and around the town of Othaya in Nyeri county. The society was registered in 1956 with 250 farmers and has since grown to over 15,000 members. Their offices are located in the center of town, and the Gatuyaini factory is their production center, less than a kilometer up the hill from the main office. Many factors make Othaya extraordinary, chief among them strong social unity, a holistic approach to business management and a progressive view towards quality control throughout the supply chain. The society has a nursery and farm store to supply its members with inputs, equipment and seedlings. Farm management workshops are offered regularly, and factory managers are routinely trained on wet mill best practices. Othaya has sample roasting and cupping facilities at the Gatuyaini factory, and society staff cup samples of every lot delivered during the harvest season. Also at Gatuyaini factory is a complete dry milling installation, allowing the society to manage even the parchment hulling sorting and grading elements of their operation.

Currently, Othaya’s factory members are:

  • Thuti
  • Chinga
  • Mahiga
  • Kagere
  • Gatuyaini
  • Kamoko
  • Ichamama
  • Kiaguthu
  • Kiruga
  • Gichichi

  • Iriani
  • Gatugi
  • Rukira
  • Kiaga
  • Gura
  • Kagonye
  • Kamoini
  • Karuthi
  • Gitundu

The quality delivered by Othaya’s members has made many of their factories famous in the specialty coffee world, and the diversity of profiles that can be found from a relatively small area is incredible. We’ve known Mahiga Factory to deliver dark raisin, prune and date flavors, while Chinga Factory may show more mandarin orange, pineapple and black tea. Bright lemon citrus, ginger and lavender is what we’ve come to expect from Ichamama Factory, and Gatuyaini routinely shows cherry, raspberry, and sweet holiday spice. These subtle variations in character and quality determine the lots Atlas selects from Othaya factories year to year, but our investment in the society itself continues to grow along with the success of their coffees in the specialty market.

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West Coast Offering List (PDF) East Coast Offering List (PDF)