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Fairtrade Eastern Africa | September 23, 2019

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Kangocho Community Dispensary

Kangocho Community Dispensary

Profile: Gikanda Farmers’ Co-operative

Kangocho Community Dispensary

Farmers: 3,000

Product focus: Coffee
Location: Karatina, Kenya
Type: Small producer – 3000 farmers
Fairtrade certificate since: 2006

Challenge

The inconveniences of walking up to 9km to access medication had become too unbearable for farmers and the surrounding community of Gikanda Farmers Co-operative in Karatina. There were no dispensaries nearby and patients in the community suffered health complications which sometimes became lethal especially if one could not afford transport. Health, a basic need, was inaccessible to the coffee growing community in the area.

Solution

Gikanda Farmers’ Co-operative, with keen interest on the welfare of their farmers and community at large, contributed part of their Fairtrade premiums from the sales of coffee towards renovation of an old structure previously used as a nursery school to put together a community dispensary.

“We had to employ a professional nurse who was sustained partly by Fairtrade premiums,” says James Ngatia, the manager of the Co-operative. “The government came in to provide drugs and employ more workers,” he adds.

Results

Currently the project is growing and it is becoming sustainable. Emma Wangari Mwaniki is the deputy in charge of the dispensary. She says in a day they receive more than fifty patients with varying ailments common of which are respiratory tract infection, brucellosis, diabetes, hypertension, diarrhea disease, wound dressings, antenatal and neonatal care.

Jackson Njogu a farmer who lives closer to the dispensary confesses with health there is wealth. He says he now has enough time to attend to his coffee and has also diversified his income.

Income diversification to dairy farming has been fully taken up by Gikanda Co-operative and now farmers are able to collect more than 400 litres of milk each day. The milk is sold to a processing company, Brookside, and this has enabled farmers to earn a monthly income as they wait for the annual payment from coffee.