14 Sep

Says effects of the new tea regulations put in place by the government a few months ago have been felt.

CONCERNS: Former PS Irungu Nyakera addressesfarmers at Kaganda buying centre in Kiharu, Murang'a

Farmers have nothing against KTDA but they want cartels that take advantage of them done away with, Kenya Tea Sector Lobby chairperson Irungu Nyakera has said.

Nyakera who has been a strong campaigner of reforms in the tea sector said already the effects of the new tea regulations put in place by the government a few months ago have been felt.

The former principal secretary said tea prices have increased by a dollar barely a month after Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya put his foot down regarding the direct sale of tea by KTDA.

“Tea prices have increased from two dollars to three dollars per kilogram since the inception of digital auction system late last month after Munya insisted that the complete ban on direct sales must be implemented immediately,” he said.

Nyakera said after the sale of the tea at the Mombasa auction, the money is channelled to a pool bank account owned by KTDA and only 30 per cent is paid to farmers monthly.

The money is then used to give loans to farmers who struggle to support themselves with the meagre returns they get monthly, putting them on a cycle of poverty as they survive on loans which are repaid using the annual bonus paid at the end of the year.

But the new regulations require tea sales to be paid directly to factories and 50 per cent of it paid to farmers every month, while 25 per cent is retained for bonuses.

The remaining 25 percent will go towards factories’ expenses including KTDA’s management fee.

“KTDA officials seconded to individual factories were previously paid by tea factories and will now be paid by KTDA itself,” Nyakera pointed out.

Speaking at Kaganda tea buying centre while meeting tea farmers on Saturday, Nyakera noted that KTDA has been using farmers’ money to pay for its numerous court cases.

Source: The Star