NYERI, Kenya, Sept 30 – Tea farmers from five factories in Nyeri county have ratified the new regulations introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Speaking during a meeting with the parliamentary committee on delegated legislation at Iria-Ini tea factory, the farmers said that the new regulations are for their benefit and should be ratified by the national assembly so that they can benefit.
The regulations that were introduced by the Ministry, commonly referred to by farmers as “Munya” rules have raised dust in the sector with a section of farmers allied to the Kenya Tea Development Agency opposing them.
However, in a meeting attended by KTDA national chairman Peter Kanyago, the farmers told the committee that they have been oppressed for a long time and as such, they need reprieve which will come in the form of new rules.
“We as farmers want the implementation of the rules to cushion us from late payment of our crop,” said Peter Mwangi, a tea farmer.
The farmers said that for a long time, the tea industry has been run by a cartel in the agency which can only be broken by the implementation of the new regulations.
However, speaking on the sidelines of the meeting Kanyago said that as an agency they have no problem with the new regulations only that they were not subjected to public participation which will remove some rules that are not beneficial to the sector.
“We as an agency have no problem with the new regulations. However, we have issues with some rules that have the potential of destroying the sector just like new rules introduced in the coffee industry which worked against the interest of farmers ” said Kanyago.
He said that one of the rules that can destroy the sector is selling tea in a centralized auction which will scare away buyers who can move to other auctions.
He said that what the government needs to have a dialogue with stakeholders in order to ensure the industry is well protected.