Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Peter Munya has accused Governors opposed to the tea sector regulations of insincerity saying they participated in the formulation of the reforms.
Munya said the Governors participated in public forums that discussed the reforms across the country, and wondered why they have all of a sudden distanced themselves from the regulations.
“They participated physically or sent their representatives to these forums and they supported the regulations. I wonder why they are now fighting me,” said Munya.
Speaking when he met tea farmers from Gatundu North Sub County on Friday, Munya told the Council of Governors (CoG) the process of reforming the tea sector had already started and that the regulations were before the National Assembly Agriculture Committee being processed to a bill, so as to be passed into law.
He told the CoG and Kenya Tea Development Authority KTDA to rather than oppose the regulations in the public, they should present their views to the relevant committee so as to enrich the bill.
KTDA and CoG have since gone to court to challenge the regulations terming them unconstitutional.
“The ball is on MPs’ court to fast-track formulating the regulations into a bill and passing it to law. It was the only way that will save the tea farmer who has over the years been impoverished by selfish KTDA directors,” said the CS.
He was accompanied by nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura, Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina, Gatundu North MP Wanjiku Kibe and EALA MP Mpuru Ampuri.
The MPs said as leaders from tea growing zones, they were lobbying to have the regulations passed into law once brought into the floor of the house.
Wainaina called on farmers to consider intercropping tea with macadamia and avocado, to increase their earnings saying the other two sectors had become lucrative.
“A kilo of macadamia sells at Sh200 and with five trees one is assured of making hundreds of shillings in proceeds, to complement tea earnings,” said Wainaina.
Local farmers and those from the nearby Murang’a Counties led by Moffat Kamau Mbue, Chairman Mt Kenya Tea Farmers Forum supported the reforms saying it was time that they started getting good proceeds by weeding out greedy KTDA officials from the tea chain.
“The reforms are timely and would make tea farming profitable,” said Ndung’u Gichia, a tea farmer from Mataara tea factory.
Among the proposals in the regulations include farmers getting at least 50 per cent of Greenleaf delivered every month within 30 days from receipt of proceeds, ensuring the factory board has three directors, the board being elected through one man one vote to serve a maximum of three years of two terms, among several others.
By Muoki Charles