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KTDA Urges Calm as Tea Farmers Threaten to Boycott Harvesting

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 4 – The Kenya Tea Development Agency has urged farmers to not be incited to boycott tea plucking, saying the move would lead to heavy and unnecessary losses.

The call comes days after tea farmers from the Mt. Kenya region threatened to boycott harvesting the crop until the National Assembly passes the sector reforms bill proposed by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.

The farmers also issued the threat to put pressure on the agency’s Chairman Peter Kanyago to quit after it was revealed that he has also been doubling as a broker.

The Agency has also been blamed by farmers of poor bonus payments, as well as failure by the agency to do away with court cases that it filed to block the implementation of the regulations proposed by Munya.

But KTDA says the boycott will be unfortunate considering farmers own their farms, factories and KTDA through their factories.

The agency says it will ensure that farmers do not incur any losses, adding that it will remain operational and will collect green leaf from farmers as is the norm.

“In this regard, and to ensure that farmers do not incur any losses, the over 4,000 tea buying centres operated by KTDA-managed tea factories will remain operational and will collect green leaf from farmers as is the norm. Subsequently, the 69 factories under KTDA’s management will also remain operational.”

The agency also addressed the complaints on the drop in the price of the commodity for the period between July 2019 to June 30, 2020.

According to the Agency, smallholder tea production went up by 30 percent during the period under review, exacerbating the surplus production situation in the world, as Kenya is the leading exporter of tea.

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“Consequently, prices came down the second year in a row, this time by 8 Percent.”

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