Monday, May 20, 2024
Home > Counties > Murang’a tea farmers protest theft

Murang’a tea farmers protest theft

Tea farmers from Murang’a County have decried the increased theft of tea from farms following an influx of brokers in the region.

According to the farmers, the cases of tea theft from the farms and collection centres have become widespread, and they are urging the government to intervene and help weed out the brokers.

One of the farmers, Mr. Bernard Mwangi from Kiru Tea Factory, stated that it was even more unfortunate that tea is being stolen at the collection centres, which means that some clerks could be colluding with the brokers.

Mwangi said that if this trend is not halted, it will have negative effects on the tea sector, and farmers might abandon tea farming because they are not getting their rightful dues.

“We ask the government to eradicate the brokers from the market because they are operating illegally in this area without any permits,” he remarked.

Another farmer, Mr. Githinji Ngumi from Gatunguru Tea Factory, said the trend has seen them experience huge losses as they are left with little produce to sell.

“There are many brokers in the area who are using the young men here to get tea, and because the majority of the farmers here are registered with KTDA (Kenya Tea Development Agency), they resort to stealing,” he said.

“In some cases, tea is being picked at night or very early in the morning before the farmers get to the farm,” he added.

The farmers have also decried delays in the distribution of fertiliser, which they say might affect tea production.

Mr. Peter Muraya said the fertiliser is usually supplied at the beginning of July, but until now there have been no indications as to when the farmers will get it. He noted that July is the most suitable time to have the fertiliser applied on the tea farms due to the light rains which enable it to be absorbed.

“If the fertiliser comes late, it will be of no help to us because if it is applied when the short rains begin, it will be washed away,” he said, and urged the KTDA to speed up the process and ensure the input is availed to farmers in the next one week.

The farmers also asked the newly elected KTDA Chairman, Mr. Enos Njeru, to ensure he implements the tea reforms but cautioned him against dragging politics into the tea sector.

The farmers asked him to streamline the sector, saying this would help them realise more returns from the produce. They also asked for an increment in monthly payment from Sh26 to Sh30 per kilo and requested that this money not be delayed.

By Purity Mugo

Leave a Reply