Tea farmers in Tharaka Nithi County came out in large numbers to elect new factory directors despite the court orders obtained by Kenya Tea development Agency (KTDA) stopping the polls.
The elections which were conducted at Maara Sub-county by the election committee from the Tea Board of Kenya was aimed to install fresh leadership at the troubled sector.
Newly elected leader Musyoka Mbui, said he fully supports the new tea reforms pushed by the national government to streamline the sector in a bid to enhance the lives of small scale farmers.
He cited cases under the new rules farmers would be eligible as long as they have only 500 plants unlike in the past when it was mandatory to have more than 1500 trees.
Musyoka added that he will work hand in hand with the other directors to make sure small scale farmer benefits.
Festus Riungu, newly elected leader, said he fully supports the new tea regulations by the government as this will boost the earnings of small scale farmers.
The government had earlier incorporated the new reforms in the sector in the Tea bill that was once passed by parliament to shield the small scale farmer from being challenged in court by the adamant KTDA.
Terry Makena CEO Green Tharaka Nithi County asked elected directors to embrace and work closely with the government and enforce the new tea reforms to ensure farmers in the county benefit.
Some of the farmers who came out to vote were very pleased with the outcome saying KTDA has lied to them for a long time and thanked CS Peter Munya and President Uhuru Kenyatta for their support.
However, some farmers were disappointed by the elections suggesting that the elections of directors need to be done through a secret ballot. They asked the government to intervene and have a retake of the elections.
By Sharon Gitau