The changes President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed to be effected in the tea and coffee sectors have received backing from Murang’a Governor, Mwangi wa Iria.
Wa Iria has said the new changes the Head of State has proposed will go a long way to revive the two sectors, which for a long period have been performing minimally.
In a press briefing a few hours after the President issued his State of the Nation address on Tuesday, Wa Iria said the tea sector, which recently has been, doing badly will get a revamp if the new directives will be implemented effectively.
Farmers especially from Central region rely mostly on tea, coffee and dairy farming but due to poor management, and unfair competition the sectors have been accruing meager returns.
Mwangi said investigating of KTDA would greatly help farmers as the truth will be known where profits from the cash crop usually end up.
He noted that his administration will withdraw the case which the county has filed against KTDA after the Authority paid lesser bonus last year.
“I have immediately directed my lawyers to withdraw the case we filed against KTDA since the directive the President has done will definitely handle the matter we were seeking from court,” added Wa Iria.
In his address, the President ordered restructuring of KTDA and the Competition Authority to take decisive decision on the authority, which handles production and marketing of tea from small-scale farmers.
The President further directed the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure the tea regulation policy such that no tea directors who are also tea farmers will not be involved in tea selling abroad.
Still on the tea sector, the President ordered that farmers not to be paid less than50 percent on monthly basis for the green leaf they have supplied after all the expenses have been paid.
Wa Iria said the President has heard cries of tea farmers after he proposed payment of minimum guaranteed price to tea supplied.
Prices of tea have been fluctuating for years leaving farmers without certainty on what they will be paid after supplying their green leaf to the factories.
The governor further noted that tea farmers last year suffered a lot after they were paid meager bonus saying the amount which was paid could not cater for all expenses.
He said making value addition on tea instead of auctioning black tea at Mombasa will help make farmers earn more returns.
On coffee, Wa Iria noted the problem facing the sector is within cooperative societies which have failed to properly manage the sector.
Management of many coffee cooperatives, he said are to blame for failing to come up with measures to make coffee a profitable cash crop.
The governor further lauded the President for merging ministries of agriculture to that of cooperatives, saying the two sectors cannot perform well when operating separately.
Meanwhile, Wa Iria has asked leaders from central region especially who were politicking using agriculture as platform to tone down and embark on working for the people.
By Bernard Munyao