Tea directors in Mt Kenya raise alarm over resurgence of c****ls in region

Friday, April 19th, 2024 05:00 | By
Farmer picking tea. PHOTO/Print
Farmer picking tea. PHOTO/Print

Tea directors from factories in the Mount Kenya region have raised a red flag over the resurgence of cartels in the sector with eyes on siphoning farmers’ hard-earned money.

Drawn from Zones one to seven, the directors claimed that the well-connected individuals are hell-bent on sabotaging tea reforms the government has been undertaking to invigorate tea farming and ensure that farmers get value for their produce.

The cartels, according to the directors, have been eyeing over Sh560 million that they claim should be paid to lawyers who represented them in court in a case they had filed to oppose the implementation of Tea Act 2020.

Addressing journalists yesterday, the over 150 directors claimed that individuals who have been in the management of the tea sector are after farmers’ money which has been increasing thanks to the reforms in the sector. Led by Gatundu South MP Gabriel Kagombe, who also doubles as a director at Theta and Ndarugu tea factories in Zone one in Kiambu County, the directors observed that through the reforms and proper management for the last years, farmers’ earnings have grown from Sh43 billion to about Sh80 billion.

“For the first time since Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) started managing the smallholder tea factories, farmers are set to receive the biggest bonus in June this year. We know that the cartels are after this hefty money,” he said.

Former KTDA chair, who is also Zone One member David Ichoho claimed that a few individuals are out to sabotage the economy of about seven million Kenyan tea farmers due to their insatiable greed for public money. Ichoho who pleaded for government’s intervention said that all efforts to revive the sector risks going down the drain should the cartels be given a field day.

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