NYERI, Kenya, Jul 21 – Tea farmers in Nyeri county want the ministry of agriculture in conjunction with the director of public prosecution to conduct a forensic audit of finances at the Kenya Tea Development Agency.
Led by Wambugu Nyamu, a farmer at the county, the farmers claim there has been massive theft of farmers’ money, adding that the audit should be conducted on the financial status of the agency, factories, and subsidiaries.
“We as farmers are upset by revelation by KTDA that this year bonus will be lower than other years. It is our belief that all is not well at the agency and as such an audit is necessary to determine what is going on” said Wambugu.
This year KTDA has announced that the rate which they usually pay farmers at the end of the year commonly known as bonus will drop owing to the fact that they have lost close to 17 billion due to COVID-19 restrictions that have hampered the sale of their produce.
KTDA argues that the huge consignments of produced tea are still lying in their godowns and cannot be sold at traditional markets due to movement restrictions.
However, in their statement, the farmers see foul play on the part of the agency since bonus is supposed to be derived from sale of last year crop which was not adversely affected by the pandemic.
“We as farmers view this as sabotage due to new tea regulations which are not codusive to the agency we want a probe into their affairs to determine whether our money is being stolen or not” said Wambugu.
In the past, farmers have lost millions of shillings due to the collapse of banks where they had banked monies that were to pay farmers.
However, the Agency’s national Chairman Peter Kanyago is on record saying no farmers incurred loss due to the collapse of the banks since the sum had been insured.