Agency announces plan to review tea prices monthly

By NDUNGU GACHANE
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Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) will be reviewing tea prices monthly.

According to Mr Francis Macharia, a board member at KTDA, the move follows requests by farmers for better pay.

Other farmers have pulled out from their respective factories and are selling tea to individual firms.

Speaking at Kanyenyaini Tea Factory during its annual general meeting, Mr Macharia said KTDA had taken farmers’ pleas into consideration.

He said the board would review tea prices.

“As a board, we will see how we will increase tea prices across the country to enhance good payment to farmers. I urge farmers to be patient and allow the board to have its sitting to discuss the new prices,” he said.

Kanyenyaini tea growers have been mounting pressure on the factory to increase the prices from Sh15 to Sh25 per kilogram of green tea leaves, threatening to quit KTDA if their demands are not met.

The agency is also grappling with challenges of tea hawking across the country. The proposal by KTDA to increase prices may be one of the solutions to hawking.

Mr Macharia said some farmers were being used by local politicians, especially in regard to a petition by a group of farmers to President Uhuru Kenyatta two weeks ago calling for a probe into the factory.

His sentiments were echoed by Kanyenyaini Tea Factory chairperson Maina Njema, who said the factory was ready for an audit and scrutiny.

“Even before taking a petition to the President and local leaders, any aggrieved farmer or politician should visit the factory and request to peruse the relevant documents for facts before spreading rumours,” he said.

The farmers, in the petition, asked President Kenyatta to form a commission of inquiry to investigate the conduct of Kanyenyaini Tea Factory for the past five years owing to alleged misappropriation of funds.

They want the commission to scrutinise the costs incurred in production of tea for the past five years and ascertain that any money borrowed was put to the right use.

By Kenyan Digest

The Kenyan Digest Team