Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has ordered investigations into corruption claims at Kapsara Tea Factory in Trans Nzoia County.
CS Munya issued the directive on Saturday while on a working tour of the western region.
Speaking at the factory in Cherengany Sub County, Munya asked Trans Nzoia County Commissioner (CC) Samson Ojwang to ensure former officials at the tea factory account for the Sh 379 million which was loaned to the tea factory and alleged to have been misappropriated.
“I am asking County Commissioner and all investigation agencies here to launch investigations into this corruption scandal immediately and establish how the cash was used,” directed Munya
He further instructed speedy arrest and prosecution of individuals involved in the scam and recovery of all stolen cash.
“The government should not be blamed for mistakes perpetrated by few self-centered individuals,” the minister warned.
The minister reiterated the government’s determination to ensure farmers enjoyed maximum benefits from farming through full implementation of new regulations.
“Kenya farmers cannot continue engaging in tea farming if they were not receiving better returns and payments,” stated Munya
Munya added though the farmers have been struggling to produce enough tea for both local use and export, they however were increasingly getting demoralised due poor returns largely occasioned by what he described as selfish and corrupt middlemen cartels.
“Unscrupulous cartels are heavily to blame for most of the problems that have been adversely affecting the tea sub sector in the country,” observed Munya, adding the new laws were aimed at sealing loopholes for graft opportunities.
He urged tea farmers in Trans Nzoia County to embrace the new Tea Act 2020, which he said was aimed at reforming the sub sector that had hitherto been rocked by several challenges.
“The Act has re-established the Tea Board of Kenya which will, among other duties monitor and license agencies involved in the buying and selling of tea,” Munya pointed out.
The objective and purpose of the Act is establishment of the Tea Board of Kenya to develop, promote and regulate the development of the tea industry.
“The new tea regulations promotes accountability in the tea sector by promptly paying tea farmers and by giving them more power in the running of the tea factories,” emphasised Munya.
He appealed to farmers in the sub sector to patiently embrace the new regulations, assuring them of improved benefits from next year.
“Before the new regulations, tea farmers were suffering steady decline in tea prices.
However, since the Tea Act 2020 took effect we have begun to witness the prices shooting up,” disclosed Munya, citing the months of August and September as indicators of better things ahead.
He further assured the farmers that, government will continue subsidising farm inputs to enable them produce more tea for local consumption and export.
“Currently farmers are enjoying government subsidy on tea fertilisers,” he cited.
Farmers are currently buying a 50kg bag of tea fertiliser at Sh2,500 down from Sh3,200.
Present at the event were Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) Chairperson David Mune, Trans Nzoia Deputy Governor D. Stanley Tarus and Cherangany Legislator Joshua Kutuny.
By Maurice Aluda