Tea Cartels warned.

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Kisii county Governor James Ongwae with Senate agricultural chairman Aaron Cheruiyot and Kakamaga senator Cleophas Malala at Kisii town where the committee visited the county on 11 June 2018. (Photo Brighton Makori )

The Senate Ad Hoc committee has vowed to come up with strategies through making policies in which will end the challenges facing farmers across the country.

The tea  farmers  have been crying  over the numerous  taxation, delay in the  collection of tea leaves,  marketing,  cartels  hawking and low payment on the bonuses.

Speaking on Thursday at Kisii in a meeting with stakeholders from tea sector  in a move to  find first hand  information and views from farmers,  the chair  Aaron  Cheruiyot  said  through the findings they will be able  to come up with solutions which will help the sector.

The  chair  noted   that  tea  farmers  have been  earning  low  bonus  income due to cartels  who purchase  at throw  price.

“We should  come up  with  the policy  to safeguard our farmers,  it really hurts  us  on what our farmers  are earning. As a committee we want to get findings and criteria used during bonuses.  For example, Gusii region you   find  out that  farmers  earn  low income  compared  to other  parts,” Mr Cheruiyot  said.

He stated  that they are going to ensure  that they equalize  tea bonuses.

He further said that  it  should be noted that earnings from tea in Kisii does not commensurate with time and resources our farmers spend on the value chain despite tea being the country’s most important cash crop .

Kakamega  Senator  Cleophas  Malala  on his part said, they are going  to come up  with the policy to fund farmers.

“We are going  to ensure  that farmers  are given  loans same like tenderprenuers,” Mr Malala  said.

Mr Malala  said that the policy will  bar  cartels  hawking tea who  have positioned themselves only to harvest the farmers sweat in the tea market center.

He added that  that sugar cane, maize and coffee collapsed through the power of cartels who have not grown any of the agricultural products but they are the big beneficiaries of these products.

“Tea which is the main export is slowly collapsing because of certain individuals who have positioned themselves in the tea market which we as a committee will eradicate in this industry,” said Malala

They also  asked  Kenya  Tea  Development  Authority (KTDA)  to collaborate and  extend  services  to County  government  by  empowering   farmers.

Kisii  County   governor  James  Ongwae  asked  the Senate  to remove numerous  taxes  from tea  .

According  to him,  farmers  have been decrying  over  numerous   taxation  on tea.

The governor said that   government  should  motivate  tea farmers  with  the  supply of seedlings  and fertilizer.

Mr Ongwae  stated  that tea  farmers  should  embrace  and adopt  modern technology to improve  farming and increase produce..

He asked  the Senate  to come out  with  the policy to fund  tea  factories.

He noted  that KTDA  extension  services  has not been harmonized  as it is required.

Mr Ongwae stated  that the Senate  should  ensure  that the issue of tea collection delay should  be dealt  with.

“As a Senate  you  should  find out why there’s delay on the collection  of green leaves  from tea  buying centres,”he said.

According  to the governor, farmers  were  decrying  over impassable roads  especially  during  rainy  seasons  which might  have led  to the delay of the collection.

Mr Ongwae  asked  the Senate  to find out  the management  of the factories.

“Our small scale farmers are challenged by high cost of production, poor market due to tea hawking by middle men and poor payment,” said Ongwae

Deputy  Governor  Joash  Maangi  said, it’s their  hope  that the  findings from this visit will be used in making policies and legal amendments to improve production and benefits to farmers.

He called KTDA which is a key player between tea growers and the market should start working closely with the county governments.

Kericho senator Aron Cheruiyot said the committee has five months to come up with a report of challenges tea growers face and come up with possible solutions.

“We as the committee we don’t want tea sector to face the same challenges that maize is currently facing,” said Cheruiyot.

Kisii senator Sam Ongeri said auctioning by the middle men between the farmer and the final consumer is a great challenge to maximum yield which is not compensated to the tea growers during bonus times.

14 thoughts on “Tea Cartels warned.

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