The effect of land fragmentation on agricultural production is now prevalent resulting to low income for tea farmers in Kirinyaga County.
Peter Mwai Migwi, the Zone Five KTDA Board Member now wants more research carried out to investigate the factors that cause fragmentation in spite of its negative manifestations on production and socio economic wellbeing of the farming households.
“We want more research carried out in the area of cultural land inheritance system in Kenyan societies to establish the reason for its persistence even when it is uneconomical to sub divide land further,” Migwi said.
He said the government should come up with a policy and establish the size of land which should not further be sub divided to end this menace.
Migwi attributed the fragmentation of tea farms ass the main factor affecting tea production hence low income to the farmers.
He said much of the small scale farmers whose produce constitute over 70 per cent of the harvest do not have enough land to grow the crop.
Migwi who speaking on Thursday at Kangaita Tea Factory said it is the high time the government come up with a policy to safeguard further fragmentation of land especially touching on cash crops like tea and coffee.
He said tea is still among cash crops earning the highest foreign exchange for the country and thus important to safeguard its production.
Migwi also said reliance of the traditional markets for tea has led to low prices of the crop. “We must open and look for new markets if we have to sustain our farmers,” he said.
The director urged key players in the sector to source for new markets to create competition which will lead to higher prices and hence benefit to the farmers.
”Tea is the main crop that brings the country a lot of foreign exchange, I therefore urge the President (Uhuru) to assist in sourcing for new markets when he travels abroad,” he said
For instance, Migwi said the president in his foreign tours should include a few directors who should accompany him to source for tea markets abroad.
He called on the unity of leaders in the tea industry so that they can articulate issues affecting tea farmers to boost their income.
”If we unite and succeed, then tea farmers will have succeeded since prices will be high, so let us leaders in the sector unite,” Mwai said.
Mwai represents five tea companies in Mt. Kenya region.
By Irungu Mwangi