NYERI, Kenya, Sept 21 – Tea farmers in the Mt Kenya region want the Kenya Tea Development Agency to withdrawal a case it has filed against the implementation of the new tea regulations within seven days.
Led by Nahashon Ngari, the farmers say that the case was filed in bad faith since the intention of the new regulations, set by the government is to ensure farmers make profits from their sweat.
Farmers who spoke to Capital Business at the Mununga tea factory in Kirinyaga County said failure to withdraw the case will force them to hold annual general meetings at the factory level and withdraw their management contract with the agency.
“We as farmers want to make it clear to KTDA top brass that they must withdrawal this case in court. We as their bosses did not give them the mandate to sue the government and beside the new rules are meant to benefit us,” said Ngari.
The agency has moved to court and obtained an injunction against the implementation of the rules arguing that they were not subjected to public participation.
The case is slated for mention on Tuesday at the High Court where the court will determine a hearing date.
The farmers who have held public meetings with agriculture minister Peter Munya say the new regulations are good for the sector since they offer them a lifeline. Already the sector has witnessed some farmers uprooting their crop due to poor pay.
“We as farmers have approved the new regulations due to the timely payment of our dues,” said Ngari.
The farmers further said plans to establish tea board and council will help in ensuring regulations of the industry is timely.
“We as farmers support the establishment of tea board and the council, this will help the government know our problems in the shortest time possible and also establish regulations that are beneficial to us without hindrance from the agency or any other person,” said Ngari.
The Ministry of Agriculture gazetted new regulations which they say are meant to liberate the sector.
However, the rules have started a storm in the sector with farmers supporting them while others are against them.