The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) on Tuesday signed a Ksh. 3.5 billion financing deal with Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Limited for the purchase of 95,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser to be distributed to KTDA tea farmers across the country.
The deal, which is part of KTDA’s fertiliser supply programme for farmers, will see over 650,000 farmers who own the 69 factories that KTDA manages benefit from supply of fertiliser through the arrangement.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, KTDA Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Lerionka Tiampati, said that the move will help farmers access affordable fertiliser that will go towards improving the quality and yield of their tea.
“We are pleased to be signing this partnership with Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Limited as it will enable us acquires fertilizer which we will be distributed to our farmers at the most competitive rates we can obtain. The fertilizer will assist farmers improve the yield and quality of their green leaf, “he added.
He added that this also fits well with their long-term strategic objective to continuously work towards providing
smallholder tea farmers with a wide-range of cost-effective solutions for their everyday farming requirements.
The Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Limited Chief Executive Officer, Kariuki Ngari said “ We are delighted to be announcing this partnership with KTDA as it seeks to provide affordable fertilizer to its members”.
Tea is a key export sector that earns the country much needed foreign exchange, he added, noting that Standard Chartered Bank is therefore at the forefront of driving agriculture through corporates like KTDA and hence bringing prosperity to farmers.
“This financing is in line with our Brand Promise “Here for good”, while at the same time supporting sustainability in the tea sector as well as providing bespoke solutions to all our clients,” he said.
In entering into the arrangement, KTDA is leveraging on economies of scale afforded to it by its size to obtain the most competitively priced fertilizer in an international open tender.
The fertilizer is set to arrive in July and August for subsequent distribution to farmers for their use at the onset of
the short rains.
Last year, through a similar arrangement, KTDA procured and distributed fertiliser for farmers at Ksh. 1,774 per 50kg bag against the prevailing market of Ksh. 2700.
Farmers will start receiving the fertiliser from the end of July, with the quantity of fertilizer a farmer receives
depending on the number of tea bushes owned.
On average, a 50kg bag of fertiliser is applied to 700 bushes. The fertilizer requirement is usually determined in
November and December ahead of procurement in the following year.
The Kenya Tea Development Agency Holdings Limited (KTDA-H) currently manages 69 factories in the small-scale tea sub-sector in Kenya.
By Wangari Ndirangu