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Firm offers solutions on management of small-scale tea farms  

Agriland Solution has introduced various strategies to increase tea production and maximize returns for small scale farmers in Murang’a.

The company has brought on board a section of farmers drawn from several tea factories in the county to help them in tea picking, thus increasing production of green leaf.

The firm has opted to employ the strategies after a big number of small scale tea farmers decried reduced returns, occasioned by high levies charged on harvesting of green leaf.

Currently, tea pickers charge Sh12 per kilo, a price the farmers claim is too high based on the size of their farms.

Many times, tea pickers avoid small scale farms since they can’t offer continuous work that can last for at least six days.

Since September last year, Agriland Solutions has been providing tea pickers and paying them on behalf of the registered farmer on weekly basis.

The company’s CEO Sam Muiruri said his firm, which is an agent in the tea sector, has come to rescue tea farmers from high cost of production and help them maximize returns from their produce.

He noted that they also work with large scale farmers by providing them with qualified tea pickers and in the management of harvested green leaf.

Miururi disclosed that currently they have entered into partnership with farmers drawn from Ngeere, Ikumbi, Makomboki and Njunu tea factories.

The CEO explained that farmers will only have to pay 7.5 percent of their proceeds to the company that will be deducted from their monthly payments, with its pilot phase indicating that farm yields have increased by about 50 percent.

The CEO further noted the company has a team of agronomists who visit individual farms ensuring tea pickers are working as they should and that farms are well maintained.

“In farms where production of green leaf is low, we do soil tests and farmers are appropriately advised on what to do in order to increase harvests.

“Those in need of farm inputs such as manure among other farm inputs, have to make a request and the company sources for them and delivers at a small price,” he added.

Muiriru confirmed that the tea pickers have to adhere to the policies of the firm, ensuring they maintain high discipline and stemming theft of green leaf.

“There have been numerous cases of theft of green leaf both at the farms and in tea buying centres that have been blamed on tea pickers.

We have a system that tea pickers have to use while selling their tea at the buying centres and it cannot allow one to sell for two different numbers,” he said, explaining that each registered tea farmer has a number issued by their tea factory and which they use to sell their tea.

The CEO observed that a big number of tea farmers have been facing the challenge of heavy debts that they incur as they juggle between tending to their farms and supporting their families.

“But now the farmers will have the freedom to diversify their farming activities and earn more income while receiving more returns from their tea farms,” he observed.

One of the local farmers, Florence Githinji revealed that since she joined the company in October 2023, she has witnessed increased earnings from her small tea farm.

“Agriland has managed my small farm well and tea production has increased. My tea no longer goes bad on the farms. We are delighted as farmers because we can now focus on other activities,” she said.

Samuel Kirubi, another farmer, said even tea pickers are happy with the new management of their farms as they are paid their dues without delays.

Previously, he noted, he would get money from his dairy returns and plough them into his tea farm, making it difficult to support his family.

By Bernard Munyao

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