The newly elected Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) Directors under new tea reforms reported to their various factories in Nyamira promising residents of nothing but working to improve the sector.
Factories in the County were manned by armed police officers ready to counter resistance by former office bearers from handing over their mandates to newly elected directors.
Nelson Onduko, Chairman of Directors at Kebirigo Factory, said they were ready to salvage the farmers from former tea cartels in the name of directors, who had impoverished farmers by failing to negotiate for better tea prices.
“We have reported to our factory today ready and determined to work round the clock for our fellow tea farmers. We further want to reclaim the former glory enjoyed in tea farming and ensure farmers get value for their laborious work at their tea farms,” Onduko stated.
He observed that tea farmers in the region had been made slaves to few individuals in the name of directors who were never interested in defending tea farmers’ worthwhile remuneration for their hard work on their tea farms.
Onduko further said former directors never pushed for availability of other financial benefits like accessing financial loans at manageable interests to enable peasant farmers meet their huge financial obligations at home a scenario new directors promised to change.
Another, Gianchore Tea Factory Chairman of Directors, Tom Nyandieka said they will collaborate with other stakeholders in improving the sector.
“The long suffering by tea farmers who have never had anyone to listen to their grievance and challenges they encounter in the tea farming sector will be a thing of the past since we are ready to serve our farmer at whatever cost,” Nyandieka promised.
All former immediate office holders were not allowed to vie for director’s post, according to new tea reforms aimed at cushioning tea growers from exploitation from the former directors who had overstayed in office and had become complacent in performing their duties.
All the six factories in Nyamira County held their elections on Friday April 30 according to government’s directive.
By Deborah Bochere and Dan Nyamanga