Tea farmers in the country have welcomed changes proposed by President Uhuru Kenyatta aimed at reforming the tea sector in the country.
On Wednesday, President Kenyatta directed the relevant agencies to probe the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), officials accused of operating in conflict of interest and giving tea farmers the raw deal.
In a statement sent to newsrooms, Irungu Nyakera, the chairperson of the Kenya Tea Sector Lobby welcomed the president’s directives saying they will help rescue the sector and put it back to its place as a leading source of foreign exchange and a major employer in Kenya.
“On behalf of the tea farmers in Kenya, we want to thank President Uhuru Kenyatta for the policy directives made during his recent address. We are pleased that the president noted the lack of corporate governance in the structure and management of KTDA,” said Nyakera.
” We are looking forward to seeing a radical surgery including the removal of the current leadership; the chairman, CEO and company secretary, he added.
Nyakera noted that Kenya is a leading exporter of black tea, accounting for nearly 20% of total global exports and wants these statistics reflected in the farmers’ earnings.
“We are committed to working with the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Agriculture to achieve this goal. To improve farmers’ earnings by reducing the income lost to middlemen estimated at Ksh50 per kilo and to make sure that value is added to our tea before it is exported,” added Nyakera.
The chairperson also applauded the directive to pay farmers no less than 50% of their deliveries as monthly payments with the balance being paid out as annual bonuses.
He further noted that the lobby is watching the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) to see how the watchdog goes about implementing the president’s directives.