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Farmers want KTDA to drop petition seeking to block new regulations

A section of farmers from Murang’a County want Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to withdraw the petition it had filed in court seeking to suspend implementation of new changes in the tea sector

The farmers allied to Kanyenyaini Tea factory have told off KTDA agency for being against the new proposals by the government which are meant to boost earnings of tea farmers.

Speaking at Karunga tea collection centre on Tuesday, the farmers asked the agency to withdraw the case so that the proposals can be fully implemented.

One of the farmers, Macharia Karunguru claimed that KTDA is using all means to thwart implementation of the proposals which have been spearheaded by  the  Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Peter  Munya after realising the new changes will support farmers.

“Some of the proposed changes are good particularly to farmers as they will directly be involved in selling of their tea. KTDA which currently markets tea for farmers is not happy with some of proposed changes,” said Karunguru

For many years, Karunguru added that they have been exploited and this time the government is determined to help tea farmers get maximum profit from their cash crops.

“KTDA should know that it is us farmers who are for the changes which will give us more earnings from our produce,” he further said.

At the beginning of this year, Munya came up with various changes marketing of tea with the aim of enabling farmers earn more returns from their produce.

In the proposed changes, farmers are to be in the forefront in tea auctioning in Mombasa and the sales to be under individual factory.

The proposals want farmers to be paid 50 percent of the sales on monthly basis as the remaining payment be paid as bonus in agreed time.

Munya  also wants the 2.2 percent management fee which is paid by farmers to go down to 1.1 percent, a proposal that farmers claim will enable them get more returns.

For several years, tea farmers have been complaining of dwindling earnings from their cash crops with some of them opting to sell their tea to private Tea factories.

The government, through the ministry of agriculture has come up with various measures to help revive the sector and support farmers earn more income.

Last  week, KTDA obtained court orders suspending implementation of the new proposals until the case they have filed is heard and determined.

Another farmer, Arthur Meki wants KTDA to stop delaying the process of implementing the new regulations through going to court, saying the majority of farmers are supporting the government’s move to change operations in the tea sector.

“As farmers we are fully in support of government’s directives on changes in the tea sector. Let KTDA work with other stakeholders and ensure farmers get better income. This year we are scared as rumours are that the bonus will be minimal,” added Meki.

Directors allied to various KTDA owned factories have been criticising the proposed laws, saying they do not conform with laws governing the tea sector.

By Bernard Munyao

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