To end tea sec­tors’ prob­lems, firsts re­struc­ture KTDA

The Star (Kenya) - - Voices -

Small-scale tea farm­ers across the coun­try are up in arms fol­low­ing poor bonus pay­ments. Most of them from the Cen­tral re­gion and Kisii, who com­prise the ma­jor­ity of tea farm­ers, are the worst-hit. There have been re­ports of use of force and bru­tal­ity on some protest­ing farm­ers by the po­lice. This has es­ca­lated the sit­u­a­tion. Some farm­ers have in re­tal­i­a­tion, stopped de­liv­er­ing the crop to their fac­to­ries. Tea farming is not one of the best ac­tiv­i­ties. It is tir­ing and de­mands a lot of labour and in­puts such as fer­tiliser and chem­i­cals. It needs to be pro­tected. The prob­lems fac­ing the in­dus­try are many and re­quire a multi-faceted ap­proach to fix them. To start with, KTDA must be re­struc­tured. With de­vo­lu­tion and with plac­ing of class D roads un­der the county gov­ern­ments, it no longer makes sense to levy taxes on farm­ers’ cash for ru­ral roads re­pair works. Our tea also needs to be mar­keted on the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket.

FELIX ONYIEGO Kisii county

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