Three months to the payment of tea bonuses, Tharaka Nithi farmers have warned the directors of the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) in the region that they won’t accept anything less than Ksh50 per kilo.
Through a union, the farmers have claimed that the agency has been paying them peanuts while reaping big after selling processed product. In a notice through the Kenya Union of Small Scale Tea Owners (Kussto) Secretary General George Kinyua, they threatened to march to the directors’ homes to demand their right to better payment.
Mr Kinyua told journalists in Chuka that the KTDA had declined to engage the farmers union on the bonus payment deal that is expected to be signed on Monday. He accused the directors of conspiring with the KTDA managers to lower prices that farmers are offered.
“We are warning factory directors against colluding with KTDA to exploit poor farmers by paying less than Ksh50 in bonuses which are expected in about three months,” said Mr Kinyua.
The secretary-general said for a long time KTDA has exploited farmers by buying green tea at lower prices and selling the processed product at a fortune. “KTDA buys one kilogramme of tea leaves at Ksh14 from the farmers and sells it at Ksh400 after processing. The disparity is causing the farmers who spend a lot of money and energy on farming to remain poor,” he said.