By George Munene
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has promised small-holder tea farmers a better pay next year once all reforms undertaken by the government take hold in the tea sector.
“There’s been a steady rise in the prices of tea at auction while plans are underway to lower the cost of production, transportation and storage of processed tea. Smallholder tea farmers should expect much better pay by the end of 2021/22 Financial Year,” Munya said while at a visit to Weru Tea Factory in Tharaka Nithi overseeing the plant’s progress on some of the highlighted reforms.
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The implementation of a minimum reserve price in July this year has led to an increase in the price of tea at the Mombasa auction from a low of Sh199 in April to a record Sh374.64 per kilogram in mid-October.
The CS lay the blame for the poor tea bonuses being paid out to farmers now to farmers on the ousted Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) officials and factory directors.
“After the initial resistance by the former tea cartels in June this year, the prices of tea at the Mombasa Auction, have increased steadily. The government realized that the declining tea prices, were a result of direct sales where cartels were the beneficiaries. Once we stopped the direct sale of green leaf–which makes up 95 per cent of the tea exported from Kenya–there has been a 42 per cent average increase in its price, from July to date,” he said.