KERICHO, Kenya, Jan 15 – Kenya Tea Sector Lobby has expressed support for the sweeping changes directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to review the operations of local tea sector.
“On behalf of the tea farmers in Kenya, we want to thank President Uhuru Kenyatta for the policy directives made during the State of the Nation address,Tuesday. These changes 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,” said the lobby, in a statement signed by the Chairman, Irungu Nyakera.
Kenya is a leading exporter of black tea, accounting for nearly 20% of total global exports and the same must be reflected in the farmers’ earnings.
“We are committed to working with the new Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, to achieve this audacious goal of the president; improve farmers’ earnings by reducing the income lost to middlemen estimated at Sh50 per kilo and value addition,” said Nyakera.
“We applaud the directive to pay no less than 50% of farmers’ deliveries as monthly payments with the balance being paid out as annual bonuses,” he added.
The lobby noted the lack of corporate governance in the structure and management of Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) adding that they are looking forward to seeing a radical surgery including the removal of the current leadership; Chairman, CEO and Company Secretary.
“Additionally, KTDA directors should not sit on the board of subsidiaries or tea factories,” said the Lobby statement.
The lobby called for immediate action by the Competition Authority as directed by the President, to bring to an end to the conflict of interest in KTDA, which saw three Kenyan farmers move to the high court on 7th November 2019, under the Fair Administration Act in a matter of the election of the directors under the constituent factories of KTDA holdings.
“We are optimistic about the gazettement of the Tea Regulations 2019, the establishment of the Green Leaf Pricing Formula Committee and establishment of a competence driven Kenya Tea Council as directed by the President within the next 2 weeks will create a solid foundation for the required policy framework for the next phase of the Kenya tea Sector,” concluded Nyakera.