MPs vow to push for review of ‘abandoned’ tea policy

Thursday, February 2nd, 2023 13:36 | By
Githunguri MP-Elect Gathoni Wamuchomba. PHOTO/Courtesy

The Parliamentary Caucus on Coffee and Tea has vowed to push for a review of the policy which was “erroneously” bypassed as law makers rushed to enact tea laws in 2014.

Caucus chairperson Gathoni Wamuchomba acknowledged that Parliament erred by jumping the process, adding it is imperative that the “abandoned” tea policy be reviewed and implemented so as to correctly assist in the lawmaking.

“We do understand that there is a tea policy that is missing. We ran into the process of making the law and we jumped the process. So, the stakeholders from this tea auction today have requested us to go back and retract the process,” she said while addressing the press after touring the East Africa Tea Trade Association Secretariat in Mombasa on Tuesday. Wamuchomba further said they had agreed to review the Senate Bill 2020, which she said was “mutilated” in the previous National Assembly after a successful process in the Senate.

“We have also agreed that we are going to review the Pending Senate Bill that was mutilated in the previous National Assembly floor.  I do not shy from saying and using the word mutilated because the Senate in the previous 12th Parliament made for us a very good law that really directed us on the way we should trade in coffee and tea,” she added. Wamuchomba (pictured) explained that when the Bill came to the floor of the National Assembly, because of conflict of interest, it was mutilated and reduced to cater for a few of the interested parties.

Mutilated bill

She added that the caucus comprising MPs from tea and coffee growing regions is determined to revisit the “mutilated bill” to address issues that oppress tea farmers collectively.

Stakeholders, Wamuchomba disclosed will submit a memorandum that will be interrogated by the caucus keenly and the stakeholders of the senate and the executive.

“Director of Global tea and Commodities Peter Kimanga said it is high time Kenya started focusing more on value addition as opposed to selling tea in bulk which he said contributes to value depreciation.

“Packaging in small bags can be one such value addition which also brings about more jobs,”  Kimanga said and charged that at the moment Kenya’s tea industry is facing competition from emerging markets like Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.        –Reuben Mwambingu

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