From the seed to the cup. Italy Supports Coffee Revitalization Kenya

On 26 October, an event was held in Nairobi to share the results of the third year of the AVSI ‘Arabika’ project financed by AICS to support 40,000 coffee producers in Kenya by encouraging increased production and labour inclusion of women and youth.

Countries Kenya
Date 31.10.2023
Author Redempter Gathua - AVSI Kenya Communication Officer

Nairobi, 26th of October 2023. Today, an event was held at the residence of the Italian ambassador in Kenya, Roberto Natali, to share the progress of the initiative "Arabika: Revitalization of the Production of Gourmet Coffee in Kenya". This project is sponsored by the Italian Development Cooperation Agency (AICS) and implemented by the Civil Society Organization (CEFA) – in collaboration with AVSI and the E4Impact Foundation. The event, opened by the Ambassador, was attended by George Macgoye, Chief of Staff of the Office of the Vice-President of Kenya, representatives of the governments of the counties where the initiative operates, the twenty-one supported coffee cooperatives and all the partners.

Arabika progetto AICS- AVSI Kenya
From far left: David Cheboryot, E4Impact Foundation, East Africa Region; Giovanni Grandi, AICS Nairobi Director; David Kinaniri, Deputy Governor, Nyeri; Kenneth Lusaka, Governor, Bungoma County; Roberto Natali, Ambassador of Italy to Kenya; Joseph Meruaki, Chairman Kephis and AVSI board member; George Macgoye, Chief of Staff, Office of the Deputy President; Alberto Moia, Project Manager, ARABIKA; Guilio Di Pinto, AICS focal point for ARABIKA project.

The initiative, which is now in its third year of implementation, concerns the whole coffee supply chain, and it intends to increase the earnings and resilience of small businesses in rural communities and promote the inclusion of women and young men in the workforce.
The goal is to ease access to the market both locally and globally while guaranteeing sustainable production and financial return to small producers. Arabika was born from the dialogue that started in 2018 between Italian and Kenyan counterparts, and it aligns with the development strategies of the Kenyan government and its counties regarding the coffee supply chain. The initiative is worth a 3 million-euro investment, and it is implemented in seven counties, involving 21 target cooperatives – counting 40.000 small coffee producers in total.
The most significant achievements that the initiative reached so far were shared during the event. Among these, the restructuration of seven coffee-tasting laboratories through major infrastructure interventions (now also equipped with innovative machinery), the training of thousands of trainers, farmers, and managers, and the recognition of seven new Kenyan coffee brands, which will be registered officially at the end of the year.

Ambassador Natali claimed that "this initiative is bringing the Italian expertise in the coffee industry to Kenya" and that "the achievements presented today prove how the cooperation between the two countries is a development booster for rural communities, under the sign of the added value guaranteed by Italian best practices".

Giovanni Grandi, Office Holder of the Nairobi Regional Office of AICS, stated, "The goal of AICS is to create new growth opportunities to ensure a more sustainable future".

Arabika is heading toward this direction, aiming to strengthen a fundamental supply chain to the Kenyan economy that produces income for more than 5 million people by leveraging Italian expertise.