07 Feb

More than 50 tea factories from central Kenya have opposed an application by Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) to join a case challenging sections of the Tea Act, which have since been suspended by the High Court.Led by Mungania Tea Factory Company Ltd, they said the regulator has no legal footing to oppose the case since it lacks board members to authorise it.AFA sought to join the case saying the order last month had crippled its statutory functions, among other reasons.But the tea factories through lawyer Benson Millimo said since its establishment in 2014, the Board of AFA has never been constituted. He said this has been deliberate so that AFA is left without management, which should be composed of representatives from farmers.“The lack of a management board as well as substantive director- general therefore has left AFA exposed to the external interference, abuse and directions, which are contrary to the spirit and intent of establishment of AFA,” he submitted.He added that the appointment of advocates to pursue litigation is a function that must be undertaken by the board.Mr Millimo recalled of previous attempts to impose unlawful legal regimes to the tea industry, especially small scale tea farmers, including Crops (Tea Industry) Regulations, that were imposed to tea growers.

Source: Business Daily