THE KENYAN
CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES
Pt.2

In part 1, we spoke about the democratic approach used by washing stations to elect management groups. This week we move on to co-operative societies, looking at how elected members respond to the demands and needs of the community and the coffee washing stations they represent.

The management group of a society is elected in much the same manner as with a washing station, except candidates are chosen from the already elected management boards of the washing stations (check out our illustration from last weeks blog for a visual).


MARKETING GROUPS ACT AS AN EXPORT AGENCY AND AS AN AMBASSADOR FOR THE SOCIETY they SERVE

One of the first big decisions is choosing which marketing group to represent the station. Marketing groups act as an export agency and as an ambassador for the society they serve; it’s these marketing companies that are a coffee roaster’s primary point of contact when purchasing coffee from Kenya. Each year, societies in Kenya decide who they’d like to market their coffee on their behalf. The decision depends on how well they feel their coffee has been portrayed to the international coffee community, including how much the marketing group was able to sell their coffee for, and how well they engaged new and old buyers.

This possibility of fluctuating allegiance makes it extremely challenging to work with a single washing station, year in, and year out. Even though we might be paying a good and fair price to the washing station community we decide to work with, the other washing station communities in the same society may not be getting paid nearly as well.


This is part two of a three part blog series about the Kenyan coffee supply chain ‐ check back in two weeks to complete the series.


By Steve Hall