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Kenyans asked to consume more tea for economic and health benefits

A section of tea farmers in Nandi are worried that continued stagnation of tea prices in the world market is having direct negative impact on them.

They say tea prices have stagnated for the past ten years and the farmers are bearing the heaviest burden in the entire production chain.

Speaking during a Tea Day forum at a Nandi Hills hotel, Mzee Wilson Tuwei, Chair Siret Group of Tea Companies, observed that huge plantations of tea are not giving the tea farmers the value of their land.

“When you look at tea prices generally they have stagnated for the past ten years and that is why we are not getting the real value of tea,” Tuwei said.

He regretted that if tea prices are not looked into then the tea farmers will regress into poverty, since the cost of producing will outweigh expected farmers profit.

“Tea prices for sure if not looked into, are a very dangerous crop that is taking up space on our land but not paying much,” he added.

Mzee Tuwei noted that tea had taken space for keeping cows in Nandi and that their expectations of reaping more from tea have been frustrated.

Tuwei, however, wondered why Kenyans were consuming only ten percent of the total tea produced, while the country was one of the world’s leading producers.

“We want to know why western countries take more tea than we the producers. It is hardly ten percent of tea that we consume in Kenya, but ninety percent is up for export,” he went on.

He tasked those involved in the tea value chain with developing more ways of consuming tea, including consuming tea as food or serving as a medicinal role.

“We can even blend tea and porridge flour, so that we can take the combination without necessarily using milk and tea,” Tuwei who positions himself as coming from among the first tea farmers’ families in Nandi suggested.

He challenged participants that as a country, we have to change from being not only leading producers of tea but also top consumers to up to at least thirty percent.

Tuwei welcomed the use of technology while harvesting tea as a sure way of reducing the cost of producing tea.

Nandi Deputy Governor (DG), Dr. Yulita Mitei, also present at the function challenged Kenyans to consider nutritional benefits when pure tea is taken without milk.

The DG who revealed that she is a nutritionist champion, hinted that there are multiple benefits when one takes pure tea without mixing it with milk.

Various stakeholders in tea also participated in the forum and highlighted the importance of increasing tea consumption in the country along the value chain process.

By Geoffrey Satia

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