As a result of the ongoing reforms in the tea sector, tea farmers will receive payments of the bonus by July 10, latest, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Peter Munya has directed.
Munya wondered why the payment should be delayed until October when the financial year closes by June 30th.
Addressing farmers at Thumaita, Kimunye and Kangaita Tea factories in Kirinyaga County yesterday, the CS said the payment will never be delayed again adding that the monthly payment will be paid immediately like other institutions that pay their employees on time.
“Former KTDA Board had formed a tendency of retaining the bonus at banks from end of June only to start the payments in October,” he noted.
“Consequently, huge sums of money accrued high interest which officials used to enjoy at the expense of the farmers,” Munya divulged.
“The farmers will be receiving their monthly payments on or by 5th of the coming month directly channelled to their bank accounts,” he assured.
The CS said the reforms will be fully implemented for the benefit of the farmer and ensuring that no more cartels benefit from farmers’ hard work.
“These reforms we embarked on from May last year will continue being implemented to the letter for the good of the sector and the individual farmer. Never again will the government allow cartels to dominate and control the tea sector,” he vowed.
The CS who was accompanied by the new KTDA top Board members also asked the farmers to redouble their efforts and increase productivity through proper crop husbandry for even better yields and high returns.
Zone Five Board Member Mithamo wa Susana who was present assured the farmers that his colleagues would ensure their interests were protected from any cartels that might emerge and attempt to creep back to the sector.
Munya said the ministry will be sending auditors to audit Saccos after farmers complained of paying high interest rates. The CS said that Saccos in the county are reportedly charging farmers highly against the government rates. They complained of paying 18 per cent against the government’s rate of eight per cent.
“We have received complaints that some Saccos are charging more on interest rate than the government’s directive. Farmers have continued to pay highly, and the ministry is going to send auditors to address the concern,” Munya promised.
He also urged farmers who have not registered with their respective factories to do so to ensure they are eligible to get the fertilizers.
“Those that have not registered should do so with their respective factories and local administration. We are trying to cut off crafty businessmen from silos in the country, ” he concluded.
By Mutai Kipngetich