My Round: Kenyan coffee-grower Mr Karanja has excavated a well.

Now he hopes you'll dig deep ÿ into your pockets

You probably know that swanning about the globe is one of the perks of the drinks writer's glamorous life, and you may well accuse us of shamelessly wallowing in luxury as the guests of the high and mighty. How do I plead? Sort of guilty, m'lud. Yes, I have done a fair bit of swanning and wallowing. But there is another side to this story. The side I have in mind is represented by the tiny farm of Mr Ludorvic Karanja, a farmer near Kiambu, in the central highlands of Kenya. More specifically, it is represented by his well.

Mr Karanja owns a coffee farm, the final remnant of which still grows coffee on land passed down to him and his brothers. The red dirt of the central highlands is a paradise for coffee cultivation yet, because of the chronic worldwide depression in coffee prices, all around Mr Karanja's land the coffee is being replaced by other crops. He too plants other crops – beans, bananas, melons – between his rows of coffee bushes. They provide food for himself and his family, the excess is sold for cash in the local market.

Mr Karanja plays a minuscule role in the Kenyan coffee industry, but the industry itself plays a major role in the nation's life: it is the main export earner. And it has been in upheaval since last year, when legislation was passed at the insistence of the IMF, to deregulate the Kenyan coffee industry. IMF target: the Coffee Board of Kenya. The CBK took delivery of every bean grown there, scrupulously graded it and ran the auctions through which the beans were sold. After taking a cut, it then paid the farmers. In the interests of competition and free trade, the selfless crusaders at the IMF want to cut its influence drastically and throw the coffee trade to the dogs of the free market.

When I visited the country last May with a team from Whittard, the changes were about to kick in. While no one had any accurate idea what they would do to the country's coffee industry, farmers tended to be cautiously optimistic. Their rationale: the somewhat lumbering bureaucracy of the CBK may have acted as a dampener on producers of the highest quality, who may get higher prices now they're dealing with the market more directly.

It's still too early to tell whether they're right. In the meantime, Mr Karanja's biggest problem is his well. Not long before we visited he had sunk the well so that his employees would no longer need to use river water to wash his beans as they went through the hulling machine. But the well is 20-metres deep. He and his family draw the water by hand, with a bucket on the end of a rope. It takes five minutes to pull the bucket out – 15 litres at a time. What he really needs, he said, is a pump. With a pump he would be able to irrigate his land, improving yields and raising quality. He wants to keep his farm producing coffee and sell it for fair prices.

Well, you have the opportunity to buy Mr Karanja a pump. Whittard has bought a shipment of Kenyan "elephant ears" coffee as its December coffee of the month. Elephant ears are a botanical oddity in which the two halves of the coffee seed wrap themselves around each other in the hull. When roasted, the seeds are large and flat – thus the name. The ears may be accessed through Whittard shops, or Whittard Direct on 0800 0154 394/5.

Like all the company's coffees, it will be worth buying on its own merits. In this case, there's an even better reason to buy it. Some of the proceeds from the sale of this coffee will be used to buy Mr Karanja's pump. You have the chance to make life better for him and his family. Grab it. And please, trust me on this one. I'm a glamorous drinks writer. *

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition