Nyamira tea farmers protest bonus deductions - VIDEO - Daily Nation

Nyamira tea farmers protest bonus deductions

Tuesday September 6 2016

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A group of tea farmers in Nyamira County on Tuesday engaged police in running battles as they continued to protest low bonus pay-outs.

The farmers attempted to block Lorries ferrying the produce to Tombe Tea factory.

The Lorries had collected the green leaf from a different group of farmers who had earlier on in the day rescinded their decision to boycott picking the produce.

Police from Manga Police Station lobbed several teargas canisters in the air to disperse the unruly farmers.

Some of the farmers sustained slight injuries in the process as they fled the scene.

The farmers had attempted to demonstrate on Monday, but were repulsed by police led by Manga OCS Mark Bitok on grounds that their protest was illegal.

The farmers however acquired a permit on Tuesday before taking to the streets.

Meanwhile, Kenya Tea Development Agency director James Achoki praised farmers who rescinded their decision to boycott picking the green leaf.

He said the farmers made the decision after they were given a break-down of how bonus payments were made.

“Although the required daily deliveries of green leaf to the affected factories has not been realized, we are happy that some farmers, who had boycotted picking the produce in the farms have resumed the exercise,” Mr Achoki said.

Last week, tea farmers from Nyameru, Etono, Ikurucha, Mabundu, Marindi, Sironga and Kenyorora buying centres took to the streets protesting what they termed as ‘un-authorised deductions’ of their bonuses.

They vowed not to take their green leaves to factories until the money deducted is refunded.

According Mr Justus Motanya, their spokesman, they had been informed by an audit firm that they would be paid Sh29 per kilo of tea as bonus.

But factory managers, he said, deducted Sh3 per kilo without their approval.

And on Monday, Mr Achoki accused bloggers of being behind their woes.

He said the bloggers had circulated fake bonus payment details to the farmers leading to the demonstrations that are currently being witnessed in a number of tea growing areas of the region.

“What these bloggers have done is unfortunate. It appears that their main intention is to cause chaos in our factories. We will not allow this to happen,” said Mr Achoki.

He however asked the striking farmers to resume tea picking, saying they were likely to incur huge losses if they continued with their hard stance.