Kirinyaga tea farmers have elected new directors in six electoral areas of Kimunye Tea Factory.
The election was done on Saturday under heavy police security presence at Mugumo Primary School in Gichugu.
Farmers from Kimunye, Thumaita, Ndima, Kangaita and Mununga turned-up for the polls that ended at noon.
The Elections were held following a March Executive Order by the President that the Tea Board of Kenya sanction directors’ polls in 60 days in all the 54 smallholders’ tea factories.
In the Kimunye Tea Factories polls, farmers expressed optimism with the new leadership. They hope the new leaders will oversee the full implementation of tea reforms agenda.
Juma Githinji, a tea farmer, said with new management in place, farmers’ will earn more and they will continue to expand tea plantations.
“They have been using our money to file for cases that are not helping farmers. We fully back the government for introducing rules that will help bring more money in our pockets,” Juma said.
Patrick Mugo, one of the new directors, said he will work with his new colleagues to improve the welfare of farmers. He also defended their entry into office, saying farmers were the sole decision-makers and had begun to demand an Extraordinary Annual General meeting where key agenda was the election of new directors.
Patrick Githinji, another new director, promised to play his part in bringing a lasting solution to the deteriorating price of the leaf which he attributed to cartels.
“The crop fetched a good price four years ago. However, the price has been dropping year after year from 2018 by about Sh10 per kilogram. Currently, we are at Sh26 per kilogram from Sh58 in 2018,” Githinji said.
Githinji who garnered the highest vote count of 311 among all his other colleagues, said his other priority will be to work with the government for the welfare of the tea sector.
By Mutai Kipngetich