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Munya visits Kiambu tea farmers  

Farmers from Kambaa and Kagwe tea factories in Kiambu County have expressed optimism and satisfaction in the transformation of the Tea sector, brought about by the ongoing Tea reforms.

The farmers who had an engagement with the Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperative Societies Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya, Saturday, acknowledged that the new measures that the government has put in place in the tea and coffee sectors, will greatly help reduce their losses, even as the economy continues to bite.

During the meeting, Munya asked the courts that have been listening to the cases aligned to the Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited, to fast-track the process, although he noted that most farmers had agreed among themselves for the cases to be quashed during their Annual Delegates meeting.

“KTDA should withdraw those legal cases currently weighing their operation down.  Farmers cannot move on, if they get peanuts and that is why we have to ensure loopholes that have been denying them money are closed,” said the CS.

Petitions filed in court by KTDA, has continued to block full implementation of new changes in the Tea sector, thus disadvantaging farmers who are eager and ready for the changes in the sector.

According to Munya, farmers are investors just like others and would want their business to thrive, while the government is there to ensure that there is a good environment for them to work in.

“Through reforms, the new law has reduced what we pay to the brokers and farmers are saving around Sh1 million. What used to be given to KTDA has also gone down and once those cases by KTDA are over, since they are the ones driving them, money will reach out to the farmers,” he said.

Some of the reforms that have so far bore tangible results include establishment of the Minimum Reserve Price at the Mombasa Tea Auction, reduction of brokerage and management agency fees as well as increase of payment to tea small holder growers.

The CS called upon farmers to ensure that they maximize their profits by not spending unnecessarily, after getting their payments.

He added that now that the government has already announced the new fertilizer prices, farmers should group themselves and be able to buy fertilizer from the National Cereal and Produce Board (NCPB) at subsidized prices.

“You can now get Fertilizer at the NCPB stores in Thika or even in Nairobi as the prices have gone down drastically, the DAP fertilizer will now be sold at Sh2800 and the government tops up with Sh3,200,” he said.

The other fertilizers namely UREA explained will now be sold at Sh2,700 down from Sh6,500, C.A. N will be sold for Sh1,950 from Sh3,900, NPK will be sold for Sh3,000 from Sh4,900, while MOP will retail at Sh2,500 down from Sh3,800.

The CS, however, noted that to ensure that every farmer is able to get the fertilizer and that it is well distributed, they have restricted the number to 10 bags per farmer, five (5) for planting and the other five (5) bags for top dressing.

The CS also confirmed that coffee farmers will also be getting subsidized fertilizer at 40 percent, saying that the government through the New Kenya Planters Cooperative Union (KPCU), will be delivering the fertilizer at factory levels.

“I am asking coffee farmers to go their society’s and liaise with the factory managers for their fertilizer to be dropped at their factories and they can be able to pick from there,” said Munya.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya, attends a farmers engagement forum in Kambaa and Kagwe areas

Kambaa Tea Factory Chairman, Peter Njau Mungai, said before the subsidy of fertilizer announcement, Friday, farmers have been suffering painfully.

“With the surety by government on subsidy of Sh 5.8 billion, it will help increase farmers’ earnings from tea, which has been on the downward trend,” he said.

Mungai said the new measures that the government put in place on reforms and now the subsidized fertilizer will reduce farmers’ losses and ensure farmers have money in their pockets.

Tea is a major cash crop in the country and has been a leading major foreign exchange earner for the country.

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