Tea farmers ask KTDA to withdraw case against new tea regulations

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020 17:13 | By
Tea farmers pick tea. Photo/File

Wangari Njuguna and Njange Maina

A section of tea farmers from Murang'a and Nyeri have urged the Kenya Tea Development Agency to withdraw the case it has filed in court to oppose the new regulations.

The growers claimed that the agency is using their money in court to oppose the rules which are supposed to benefit them.

Patrick Nginjiri a farmer from Nyeri said the agency is opposing the reforms because it wants to continue exploiting the farmers.

"We want the agency to withdraw that case because it is using our money and if any director feels aggrieved by the reforms, they should go to court as an individual," he said.

He said for years, farmers in the country have been getting meager pay despite tea generating billions from the global market.

"The agency has overlooked the plight of more than 700,000 farmers who rely on this crop for their livelihood," he said.

Nguniri said the farmers have pegged their hope on these reforms which propose better pay for the produce.

Moffat Kamau, a farmer from Murang'a said they will not take anything less of sh50 per kilo for the bonus payments.

He said they have plans to hold nationwide protests should KTDA fail to implement this pay increment.

"We shall boycott picking tea and hold protests all over the country if we don't get what is rightfully ours," he said.

He also said KTDA should show the farmers the formula it uses to calculate the bonus and the parameters which dictate how much a factory will pay its farmers.

"We want transparency and accountability because we fell our money ends up in the pockets of a few people" he added.

Irungu Nyakera, the chairman tea reforms task force said he will stop at nothing to ensure the new regulations are implemented.

Nyakera said the tea farmers are the major stakeholders in KTDA and thus should enjoy their benefits.

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