Gititu FCS is one of the oldest in Kiambu, being founded in 1954 (the Factory was established in ’57), before the country’s independence. At this time, the vast majority of coffee production in Kenya was done on large estates, and smallholder farmers were often prohibited from growing the crop. This makes the longevity of the factory and the group all the more impressive. A testament to its importance at the time, the factory was even visited by the first president of Kenya, Jomo Kenyata, in 1962, as he travelled the countryside before independence, securing support of the people.
Today, the FCS operates 8 washing stations within Kiambu County (Gititu, Kiairia, Karweti, Ikinu, Kimathi, Mutuya, Ngochi and Ngemwa Factories) and serves some 5,000 members in total. Around 1,000 of these deliver cherry to the Gititu Factory, which processes around 2,500 metric tonnes of coffee annually.
Despite its proximity to the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia, coffee growing was introduced in Kenya relatively late – by Scottish missionaries, initially, and then commercially around 1900. Despite the late start, today, it is a country renowned for having some of the best coffees in the world. Nonetheless, Kenya’s coffee sector faces challenges for the future, and low global prices combined with climate change and population growth have diminished the country’s output over the last decade.