The Chain of Custody in Kenya

The chain of custody in Kenya is regulated to protect the coffee grower, in that the coffee belongs to the farmer or cooperative until it has been sold to the final buyer, either through the auction system or directly. A Kenyan coffee farmer will either deliver their coffee cherry to a cooperative owned factory (or washing station) where it is processed before being delivered to the dry mill, or process the coffee on their own farm and deliver dried parchment it to the mill directly.

During the milling stage the coffee comes under the custody of a marketing agent, who works on behalf of the farmer or cooperative to secure milling services and then market the coffee to traders, who in turn sell the coffee at the auction or directly to an importer or roaster. Kenyan law prohibits that a single company can operate as the grower, miller, marketing agent and trader, however most marketing agents will have affiliation with particular mills and traders. The marketing agent is employed by the farmer to facilitate the best sale to the final buyer, and to assist in achieving the best quality and yields during the growing and harvesting season.

The diagram below aims to break this down further to show how this chain of custody works.