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Lobby asks CS Munya to speed up reforms in tea sector

Saturday January 18 2020


A woman picks tea in Nyeri. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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A tea sector lobby group has urged the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya to speed up the gazettement of the Tea Regulations 2019.

The lobby chairperson Irungu Nyakera has also called for the establishment of the Green Leaf Pricing Formula Committee and a competent Kenya Tea Council in two weeks.

While making his State of Nation address in Mombasa on Tuesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered raft of policy changes in the tea sector and directed the ministry of Agriculture to fast-track his directive without delay.


“These directives by President Kenyatta will help rescue the sector and put it back to its place as a leading source of foreign exchange and major employer in Kenya,” said Mr Nyakera.

He said that the proposed directives by the Head of State will create a solid foundation for the needed policy framework for the next phase of the Kenya tea sector.


The official observed that Kenya is a leading exporter of black tea, accounting for nearly 20 per cent of the total global exports and the same must be reflected in the farmers’ earnings.

“We are committed to working with the new Agriculture CS Peter Munya to achieve the audacious goal of the President; improve farmers’ earnings by reducing the income lost to middlemen estimated to be Sh50 per kilogram and increase value addition,” said Mr Nyakera.


The lobby lauded the President for directing that farmers should not be paid less than 50 per cent of their deliveries as monthly payments with the balance being paid as annual bonuses.

The lobby observed that lack of good corporate governance in the structure and management of Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) was to blame for the farmers’ woes.

“We call for a radical surgery of KTDA and its directors should not sit on the board of its subsidiaries or tea factories,” said Mr Nyakera.

The group called on the Competition Authority to streamline the operations at KTDA which, it claimed, is rocked by conflict of interests.

Last November, three farmers moved to High Court to contest the elections of the directors of KTDA in the constituent factories of KTDA holdings.