Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives Peter Munya has assured farmers that tea reforms initiated by the President are progressing well and they need not be worried.
Munya when addressing tea farmers at Kebirigo Tea factory in Nyamira, said his ministry has streamlined the mess that was ailing the tea sector and payment rates in this financial year onwards will improve tremendously.
“Most of the farmers’ money gets lost in corrupt tea deals and cartels who siphon the funds to enrich themselves have been thwarted by the ongoing reforms in the tea sector,” he said.
The CS challenged the newly elected directors within Nyamira to support the tea reforms and ensure that farmers’ toil is appreciated when they finally receive payments.
“We shall be doing impromptu audits of various factories in the entire country to unravel individual and corporate illegal investments attached to various factories without the knowledge of peasant farmers and whoever is culpable will be arrested and prosecuted,” he warned.
The CS further confirmed that they have authorized the green feather loans to be issued at an interest rate of eight per cent from 24per cent starting from December 1st this year and said many more reforms will be implemented.
“Tea farming is business just like any other and all those engaged in it want to make profits and improve their livelihoods and we cannot watch while just a few corrupt people rob off poor farmers’ only source of livelihood,” Munya clarified.
Nyamira Senator, Okong’o Omogeni, who had accompanied the CS appreciated the ministry’s efforts in reforming the tea sector.
“Tea farmers have suffered a great deal under dubious managers who have been in power for years on end thinking that no one can touch them but now their time is up and they must be ready to carry their cross,” Omogeni said.
He told directors to sensitize famers on the importance of improving the quality of tea so that the selling price will also be improved, thus attracting handsome bonus rates at the end of the year.
In the 2020/2021 financial year, Kebirigo tea factory was position 51 out of 67, a worrying position which farmers want newly elected directors to address so that the quality and price of their tea improves in this financial year onwards because there is good will from the government.
By Deborah Bochere