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Mbarire promotes local tea consumption

Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire has instructed all offices across the county to consume locally produced tea from the three factories of Mungania, Rukuriri, and Kathangariri to promote and expand the market.

Mbarire said that despite the factories producing the best tea in the country, local consumption was still low, hence the need to incentivize them by being the main consumers of their products.

Speaking on Monday, when she met with MPs from the tea growing zones and the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to strategize on how to improve the sector in the county, Governor Mbarire regretted that most of the tea produced in the county was consumed outside instead of the reverse.

She directed Chief Offices from all the departments to effect the move immediately to boost local consumption as well as create more markets and revenue for the factories and farmers.

The county boss further said they will set aside two stalls at the Embu Town bus park to facilitate the sale of the tea from the three factories and tap more markets.

At the same time, she said alongside other elected leaders will labour to see to it that the cost of production is brought down through mechanisms such as ensuring the factories are equipped with the capacity to produce their own power, whose net effect will be increasing returns to the farmers.

“We are looking into how we can assist the factories in generating hydropower from the Rupingazi River, which will greatly lower the cost of production,” she said.

Manyatta MP Gitonga Mukunji echoed her sentiments, saying only a paltry one per cent of tea produced in the county was consumed locally, adding that he will champion efforts to capture the niche market.

His Runyenjes counterpart, Muchangi Karemba, said the biggest percentage of farmers in Embu County depend on tea farming as their main source of income and added that it is necessary to do what it takes to improve the trade.

KTDA National Chairman Enos Njeru said the efforts being made by the county government are set to benefit farmers big time and make tea farming a lucrative venture.

He promised to keep up with innovation in the sector, including value addition to secure more markets to boost farmers’ earnings.

By Samuel Waititu

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