Ферма: Eaagads Estate
Грунт: Red volcanic
Середні опади: 824.1 mm
Середні температури: 11-32 degrees
Різновид: SL28, R11, K7
Висота вирощування: 1596 masl
Eaagads Estate is a coffee farm owned by Eagaads Company limited (a company listed in the Nairobi stock Exchange on the Agricultural segment) and is managed by Kofinaf Co. Ltd [formerly Socfinaf Co.ltd]. It is located in Thika Division of Thika District;Kiambu county. It lies on L.R.No. 8408 and 7787 whose total holding is 385.24 hectares. The estate is located approximately 50 Km from Nairobi City. It is accessible by car on the Thika-Mangu Road about 8 km off Nairobi-Thika Road: opposite Maryhiil Girls Secondary School. It is located at latitude 01’00’06.8” South and Longitude 36’59’38.9” East at 1596 m above sea level. The farms core business is growing coffee for international export. The following is the estate coffee production, other conservation areas, and infrastructure sites. Kofinaf is the leading single private coffee producing contributing to approximately 8.5% of the total coffee produced in Kenya. The company is involved in growing, milling, market
ing and exporting the finest and pure Arabica Kenyan coffee.
SOIL AND CLIMATE
The estate lies on altitude of 1596m above sea level. Soil in this area are red volcanic, with the landscape sloping gradually amidst low-lying hills. The area has two rainy seasons-march to may and October to December. Irrigation of coffee is carried out during the alternating dry seasons subject to water availability. The estate has received 824.1 mm rainfall per annum for the ten years average and the temperatures range between 11-32 degrees Celsius.
The Estate is supplied with water from Kariminu River, Chania River, and Borehole. River water is pumped in a reservoir tank in the office premise for coffee processing.
Coffee is a perennial crop. This implies that it has an all-year production calendar. Coffee is picked in two major seasons. The seasons are low and high depending on the pruning cycle. It takes approximately 9 months from flowering to berries’ maturity.
Besides picking there are other farm operations such as pruning, fungicide spraying, weeding, irrigation, soil water conservation.
Only red ripe coffee cherry is picked and processed. This gives good quality coffee as well as the prime grades that fetch good prices in the international market.
Irrigation is carried out when rains are not sufficient enough to meet the biological demand of the coffee stems. It is normally done during the dry spell. Soil erosion measures done by digging soak pits in the coffee blocks to contain surface run-off.
COFFEE PRODUCTION PROCESS
The coffee picking high season is from November to January (late crop) and low season is between March to June (Early crop).It takes 32 weeks after flowering for the berries to ripen. During the picking season Eaagads Estate engages casual labourers in addition to its regular employees.
The estate processes the red coffee cherry to dry parchment coffee bean ready for milling. River water is used during the pulping and washing stages. This water is then re-circulated during processing as many times as is necessary before being directed to the waste treatment lagoons and evaporation ponds. This helps minimize water usage.
Picking is done selectively by the workers and delivered to the factory for processing the same day.
This is done to remove damaged, unripe, disease cherries, stones and leaves. The good cherries are measured in 20lts at the factory and then poured into the large hopper for delivery to the pulping machines.
Pulping and grading
This is done by passing the coffee cherry through rotating discs that remove the skin of the red cherry from the bean by abrasion. The skin is pumped through the pipes to a tower and heaped at a site while the water used as a carrier is pumped back to the pulping station for re-use. The skin is later transported to a composting site and eventually used as manure in the coffee fields.
Fermentation is done for 12hrs or overnight in the large tank to allow the mucilage to breakdown and hence make it easy for its removal. This is an aerobic process.
Further washing is then done to remove the broken down mucilage. This process of washing uses large a mounts of water and therefore re-circulation is done to maximise water use. Further grading takes place during washing as the lighter grades floats and are easily separated from the better, heavier grades.
Further cleaning of parchment one beans is done by soaking in clean borehole water after washing and grading in the channel. Water is changed at least three times in a day [i.e. after every 8 hrs.] This enhances a brilliant centre cut during roasting. The changed water is stored in tanks for the day’s picking pulping as part of the re-circulation strategy.
This is aimed at reducing the moisture content of the bean from 55% to 10.5% which is ideal for storage and milling. Drying at Eaagads is done using outdoor drying beds that take advantage of sunlight. Here the coffee is manually turned, sorted and covered to achieve moisture content of 10.5%. It takes about 7-14 days to dry the coffee to this moisture level. There is however mechanical dryers at the site that uses a combination of solar and kerosene fuel to skin dry. This is only used when the weather is not hot enough for fast drying or when outdoor drying tables are fully occupied.