Government’s reforms in the tea sector have been praised for averting the sector from collapsing.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has said the reforms have helped to rescue the sector from the hands of cartels who used to benefit from tea at the expense of farmers.
He stated that auctioning of tea in Mombasa left tea farmers at the mercy of cartels, who colluded with some officials in the KTDA to do direct sales of tea.
“Price of tea in the international market never went down but when it came the product during auctioning the price remained low, raising pertinent questions, but all that was due to cartels that marred the sector,” Munya told tea farmers at Kanyenyaini Factory Monday.
The CS hailed the introduction of reserve price saying it has helped the price of tea to remain stable despite fluctuation of international prices.
In a period of five years, Munya noted tea prices have been going down, but with the introduction of reserve price from last year, tea price has improved and farmers can now attest to that.
“The reserve price has also helped to increase farmers’ monthly payment which is done before date 5 of every month,” he explained.
Munya accused middlemen who for long have exploited farmers saying if there were no reforms, in the next three years, farmers could have abandoned growing of tea.
“We have ensured money meant for farmers is not stolen by cartels and the government has not stopped doing reforms in the tea sector, we will continue to ensure the sector is streamlined and farmers earn more from their produce.
The newly established tea Act which brought back the Tea Board, will work out to get a new market and better prices for Kenyan tea,” added Munya.
The CS assured farmers that this year’s annual bonus will be paid in July, noting that farmers should expect more increased bonus than last year.
“Tea prices have been increasing so expect more money in this year’s annual bonus, which will be paid before July 10,” he said.
Meanwhile, Munya told farmers to support the government in bringing key reforms in the agricultural sector.
“Avoid people going around peddling lies, yet they have been unable to introduce changes which could help farmers. In august, elect leaders whom you are sure will support these reforms among others and ensure you get better returns from your produce.
“The subsidized fertilizer is already at National Cereals and Produce Board stores, so farmers can access the fertilizer to boost their produce,” said Munya.