Expect better bonus earnings next year, Agriculture CS tells worried tea farmers

A farmer is picking tea leaves in Tukiamwana in Kisii County. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Agriculture Minister Peter Munya has announced a series of measures that he believes will lead to improved tea revenues by next year.

Measures, Munya said, include moving tea through the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) starting next month, building a laboratory facility in Mombasa to promote a quality-driven market, and accelerating the completion of the Nairobi Inland Container Depot (ICD) to hold tea to reduce storage costs.

He said SGR’s transportation of tea products to Mombasa would reduce costs, while the laboratory facility would provide farmers with better tea revenues.

“Transformation and change don’t happen instantly, especially in a sector that is shaped by self-interested executives. There is resistance, but we are driving the transformation well and the results are noticeable, ”said Munya.

In order not to affect the private transportation sector, the CS said it will transport tea the first mile from the factory to Nairobi, where the SGR will take over.

In a speech at the Iriaini tea factory in Nyeri, Munya blamed the former Kenya Tea Development Agency for the low tea bonus payments for fiscal year 2020-2021 and exuded confidence that the effects of the new management and reforms will be felt in the next year will.

This year, more than 600,000 farmers affiliated to 69 factories under the KTDA will receive their bonuses less than last year on October 20, with a difference of over Sh5 for some factories, but Munya said they were with the minimum price already set better news on the way.

At the same time, Munya contradicted claims that the international market dictates tea prices, saying that while tea prices in Kenya have been falling for five years, international prices have not.

“The prices at the Mombasa auction are determined by buyers and not by international markets. It does this in an opaque way and so the laboratory facility will scientifically test tea to get a rating that will help the seller determine the price, ”he said.

Munya also announced that a factory-level forensic audit will be conducted to determine the average cost of production per kilo of tea and to look for answers as to why there were differences in different factories.

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