Majority of tea farmers in Murang’a have continued to boycott plucking of their green leaf as they demand KTDA to withdraw all cases filed against new regulations.
From Monday this week, few farmers have been spotted in their farms as many opt to protest the plucking of green leaf in solidarity in pushing for implementation of the regulations.
All tea collection and buying centres have remained open despite receiving a handful of green leaf which cannot support daily operations of the factories.
The boycott was called by leaders supporting the new tea regulations which are championed by agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.
Since Monday, all the 10 KTDA allied factories have been receiving about 10 percent of each factory’ capacity.
One of workers from Makomboki tea factory which is in Kigumo and who sought anonymity told KNA that the factory in a day has received about 4, 000 kilos of green leaf compared to 150, 000 kilos the factory was receiving per day before the boycott.
Two weeks ago tea farmers from Nyeri and Murang’a County announced plans to boycott plucking of tea with the aim of pressurizing KTDA to withdraw petition against tea regulations.
The farmers are also bitter with the agency following minimal bonus rates it is paying farmers this year.
On Tuesday in Kanyenyaini area of Kangema Sub County, at around 10 am farmers who were in the farms were ordered out and their produce scattered.
Sarah Wanjiru said she was in her farm plucking tea when a gang intruded and destroyed her produce.
“I was with my four workers when a group of people arrived from Githiga side and ordered us out with a warning not to dare defy them,” she said.
Samuel Njunu, a farmer allied to Njunu Tea factory in Gatanga said the boycott was 100 percent successful.
“The tea zones are busy places but the situation has changed as the growers have thrown their support to implementation of the tea regulations. The farmers also want KTDA to withdraw all cases in the courts lodged to challenge Agriculture CS Peter Munya,” said Njunu.
In Maire village in Kigumo, John Maathai said he has been working in the farm without any interruptions.
“They know my stand as tea is my business and in the past two days I have sold my produce to Makomboki tea factory where I am a shareholder,” he said.
KTDA Board member for Zone Two Erastus Gakuya said the strike has no impact as factories have continued to run.
“Don’t be deceived there is a strike majority of the farmers have been in their farms. Makomboki factory registered 100,000 kilos of green leaf,” he argued.
By Bernard Munyao