Tea farmers around the country have been urged to embrace diversification from the cashcrop as a way of creating alternative income source. This is as KTDA in collaboration with both national and county governments continue with a program to encourage farmers to consider replacing moribund tea bushes with a high yielding variety in their plantations totaling to 11000 hectares. KTDA Boss in charge of operations in the 70 factories under the agency ,Kanja Thuku said they are encouraging and enlightening farmers on the need to supplement their income. Kanja noted that old tea bushes most of them, over half a century old have been registering dismal yields averaging at 1 kilo per bush, whereas the new variety TRFK 300 by Tea Research yield being introduced can push yields to an average of 2 kilos per bush. Kanja spoke alongside other officials at KTDA Foundation when they visited various farmers in Chinga, Othaya who have already been orientated into different diversification projects. The Foundation Head Sudi Matara said that 315 farmers from Chinga area which is a tea growing zone have been trained, helped to develop business plans and received financial boost to implement various projects to supplement on tea income. “We are asking farmers to focus on generating income for themselves different from what they earn through tea farming. Once they are into this, we will come in as a foundation and other partners to help them develop this idea and implement it, “he said. A farmer Nathan Kamau who already been enrolled in the Sh40 million diversification program that spreads around the country, says that he is optimistic of earning more than he has done through a pig rearing project that he has started. Nyeri County where Chinga, the benefitting area falls is currently releasing to the market 73 million kilos of green leaf tea annually produced across five tea factories spread in Othaya, Tetu and Mathira Sub counties. ADVERTISEMENT. SCROLL TO CONTINUE READING. “With the replacement of low yield tea variety, the current production in the county will most likely increase two-fold. We are however asking our farmers to embrace diversification to caution themselves from lack of income at all as they await the new bushes to mature. This can even take a period of two years,” Nyeri County CEC incharge of Agriculture Muturi Wachihi said.
Source: Capital Digital Media