Farmers’ lobby wants tea board reconstituted to boost sector

Monday February 19 2018

Farmers say gains made in tea subsector should be consolidated. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Farmers say gains made in tea subsector should be consolidated. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By GEOFFREY IRUNGU
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Tea producers want the Agriculture ministry to reconstitute the Tea Board of Kenya and appoint directors of boards of various parastatals in its docket.

Kenya Tea Growers Association (KTGA) chief executive Apollo Kiarii said the boards will give direction to the sector and subsectors, noting that failure to do so could put in jeopardy developments so far made in the tea sector including research on diseases.

Mr Kiarii said the Tea Research Institute, for example, should be able to carry our research regularly to avoid possibility of diseases in the years to come. However, he noted, the institute does not yet have a board of directors to guide it.

“We need to see boards of directors appointed to the various bodies under the Ministry and the Agriculture Food Authority (AFA), including the reinstatement of the Tea Board of Kenya, to ensure direction for the development of the tea sector,” said Mr Kiarii.

Mr Kiarii noted that the Tea Board of Kenya brought together various actors in the value chain including producers, processors, packers, manufacturers to discuss issues relating to the tea subsector.

“The Tea Board was independent; it was guided by an Act of Parliament; various stakeholders had a voice. We need to see it reconstituted,” said Mr Kiarii.

AFA director-general Alfred Busolo said that while many boards – including that of AFA – were not yet in place, it was an issue that was in the hands of the Ministry of Agriculture.

“The issue of boards is for the ministry to decide on, so we can’t comment on it,” said Mr Busolo on phone.