Companies engaged in hawking of green leaf risk losing their operating licenses.
The Trade and Industrialization Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya has warned that hawking of green leaf is illegal as the trend is paralyzing operations of some KTDA factories.
He noted that companies which perpetuate hawking of tea, don’t mind the cost KTDA factories have invested on farmers to improve on tea production.
Speaking at Kanyenyaini Tea Factory in Murang’a on Friday, Munya asked security officers to move fast and tame those involved in tea hawking, which was rampant in parts of central region.
Tea hawking does not provide level ground for competition, saying the trend will greatly affect major factories, he observed.
Currently, some KTDA-owned factories are operating below target as the facilities are not getting enough green leaf to operate.
“All companies licensed to process tea should have well established farmers earmarked to supply green leaf to them but not to engage in hawking, where they target farmers allied to other factories,” noted Munya.
The CS said that KTDA factories usually accrue loans and other credit facilities so as to support tea farming, adding that diverting green leaf usually leave the companies with huge losses.
Kanyenyaini tea factory is one of KTDA companies which in the recent past been affected by hawking of green leaf.
Since 2016, a section of farmers stopped delivering their green leaf to the factory opting to sell their tea to private companies.
Munya challenged the KTDA-owned companies to move fast and start doing value addition to their tea so as to fetch better returns.
Selling of tea in bulk, usually benefits other countries which brand and repackage the commodity and sell it at high prices, he added.
“Seek support from the government to get the requisite equipment to do branding and proper packaging of your tea and then sell it bearing the Kenyan brand name. This would ensure, Kenyan tea which is worldly known fetch higher prices,” Munya told managers of factories under KTDA, adding that the government is fully in support of doing value addition to agricultural produce, with a view to creating more employment opportunities and getting more returns.
The CS challenged the factories to diversify their products by production of orthodox tea which sells at high price.
Specialty tea, he observed, has immense market in countries in the middle and Far East, while disclosing that china has already opened its market for Kenyan tea.
During the visit, 162 farmers allied to Kanyenyaini Tea factory graduated after undergoing one year training on best practices on tea farming. The training is expected to improve quantity and quality tea.
By Bernard Munyao