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KTDA set to increase monthly payment for smallholder tea farmers

Smallholder tea farmers affiliated with the Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited (KTDA) are set to receive an increment in their monthly tea payments for every kilogram of green leaf delivered to the agency’s factories.

Announcing the developments at the Iria-ini tea factory in Othaya during the Annual General Meetings for tea factories in Nyeri, Zone 4 KTDA Director Michael Ngatia said that the agency is planning to increase the monthly pay by Sh 4.

According to Ngatia, the upward revisions will see smallholder tea farmers take home Sh25 per kilogram of greenleaf supplied to KTDA.

“The proposal is to increase the monthly payment that the farmers receive from Sh21 per kilo of green leaf to Sh25 for every kilogram. The new rates will be announced officially by the national chairman when we have the AGM in Nairobi in mid-December,” Ngatia told the farmers.

This comes just three months after tea farmers received the highest bonus payout amounting to Sh44.15 billion. In addition to the bonus, the agency also released Sh23.55 billion as monthly pay for green leaf supplied to the 54 KTDA factories, bringing the total earnings to a sum of Sh67.7 billion for the financial year ending June 30, 2023.

This means that each of the 600,000 farmers took home an average of Sh59 per kilogram of tea sold. The growth in earnings was attributed to improved tea prices in the international market that saw a kilogram of tea sell at Sh341, a favourable foreign exchange regime, and increased sales of orthodox tea.

Additionally, Ngatia said that the increased monthly rates are among a raft of measures that KTDA is planning to introduce as motivation for tea growers to increase production.

Other reforms include plans to fast-track the installation of an Orthodox tea production line in Iria-ini factory which he said will cushion the farmers against shocks associated with the traditional CTC market.

Ngatia noted that the agency sold 10 million kilograms of orthodox tea in the last financial year which improved the overall earnings for tea farmers.

“The number of tea growers is increasing the world over. We now have new players such as Vietnam and Argentina. What will set us apart is the quality of tea that we produce that is why we need to adopt the new orthodox processing line and also ensure that we pick the best quality so as to get better returns,” said Ngatia.

By Wangari Mwangi

 

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