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Kathangariri tea farmers optimistic for bumper harvest

Kathangariri tea Farmers in Embu have expressed hopes of a bumper harvest after receiving subsidized fertilizer.

The fertilizer which was distributed by the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), falls under the presidential directive to distribute 1.4 million of the subsidized fertilizer to farmers.

The initiative by KTDA to supply the subsidized fertilizer to tea farmers will see 9,000 Kathangariri tea farmers benefit from the 16,664 bags of 50kgs of subsidized fertilizer which was supplied to their tea factory in Embu West.

Eufreed Njue, a tea farmer at Kathangariri tea factory and a beneficiary of the government program disclosed that tea farmers did not receive any fertilizer in the last two years, occasioned by several challenges, among them the onset of Covid-19.

He added that he used to harvest 10,000 kgs of tea per year, but his harvest reduced significantly to 7,000 kgs per year, because the government could not supply the fertilizer due to the pandemic.

Njue further disclosed that he is hopeful of a bumper harvest after benefitting from the subsidized fertilizer.

KTDA board member Enos Njeru representing Zone 6, which consists of the three tea factories in Embu County, said that farmers had not received fertilizer in the recent past due to the war in Russia and Ukraine.

He added that the war made it difficult for the government to import the fertilizer.

He urged Kathangariri tea farmers to take advantage of the onset of the short rain season and immediately apply the fertilizer to their crops, adding that it will improve both the quality and the quantity of their harvest.

The KTDA board member alerted the tea farmers not to sell the fertilizer but apply it to their crops.

At the same time, he warned farmers against selling their tea to private buyers, saying the move may deny them good pay and other benefits that come from KTDA.

“Today I want to warn you against selling your tea to private buyers because that’s a very dangerous move which may deny you good pay and other benefits that come from KTDA. The move may also make it difficult for you to get school fees for your children leading to poverty,” said Njeru.

Kathangariri tea factory chairman Moses Njage Kamau disclosed that Kathangariri tea factory’s 2022 production target is 16million kgs.

Kamau also said the 2022 tea production target motivated the company to lobby for the subsidized fertilizer so that they could help farmers to achieve their dream.

He added that in 2021, the factory achieved a harvest of 14million kgs, but with the farmers now benefiting from the subsidized fertilizer, farmers will be able to get quality and quantity harvest, which will enable the tea factory achieve its 2022-year tea production target.

The tea factory chairman said that all tea farmers will benefit from the subsidized fertilizer because the farmers were deducted Sh3, 000 from their annual bonuses to cater for the manure.

At the same time, he urged the County Government of Embu to address the poor road networks in the area to help the factory improve on its production.

By Justus Anzaya


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