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KTDA-allied farmers want election rules changed

By Mathew Ndungu
Thursday, November 28th, 2019
Tea farming. Photo/Courtesy

A section of tea farmers allied to the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) are advocating for a review of laws governing the election of factory directors.

The farmers from Gatundu North constituency want a share-based voting system abolished, claiming that it gives large farmers control over the management of factories, effectively cutting out the voice of the rest.

They are also pushing for reduction of the minimum number of shares required for election of a director from the current 4,000 to 1,000 to allow smaller farmers to also vie in addition to the current figure of seven directors being brought down to three and their salaries halved to reduce expenses and thereby maximise their earnings.

“KTDA enacted laws to continually defend some bigwigs who have huge chunks of tea plantations. That law should be abolished because leadership is not in the kilogrammes of tea produced but in the mind,” said Michael Muchiri, a farmer.

Subsidised costs

Speaking at the  annual general meeting held at the factory on Monday, the farmers said the agency has not been managing their issues satisfactorily, adding that top in their list is lack of renovation of feeder roads and provision of key farm inputs at subsidised costs.

“It is either the government gives a face-lift to dilapidated roads or we stop paying the taxes,” Joseph Njoroge, another farmer added.

The farmers who have threatened to pull out of KTDA and boycott future elections further lamented increased taxes which they said are not commensurate with the returns they receive from the government.

The agency manages 69 factories in the small-scale tea sub-sector and seeks  to promote growth and development of tea growing among native tea farmers.

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