Tea farmers blame KTDA for low bonus
They claim mismanagement, cash misuse
Misappropriation and embezzlement by tea factory directors have resulted in meagre payments and decreasing bonuses in Kangema, Murang’a county, farmers have said.
They blamed the Kenya Tea Development Agency for falling profits, as the agency manages the tea factories.
Kenya Union of Small Scale Tea Owners national coordinator Raphael Muhanda said the payment announced by the Kanyenya-ini tea factory of Sh36 per kilo is the least in Mt Kenya region.
“We are hardworking people and the factory is not giving us reasons why we receive the lowest payments in the region,” he said.
Muhanda accused the management of making too many deductions from their pay to cater for extravagant lifestyles at the expense of farmers.
Kanyenya-ini Tea Factory has been rocked by constant scuffles, with farmers questioning its management.
Mutunguru tea buying centre, which has more than 100 farmers, broke away from the tea factory last year and sells its tea to private factories in Kiambu.
Members of the buying centre sought alternative markets after the factory refused to buy their tea for more than three months as punishment for their refusal to sign the Green Leaf Supply Agreement. The farmers said it was draconian.
They said the agreement termed tea farmers suppliers and not shareholders, yet they own the tea factories. The pact also prohibited them from entering into a tea buying contract with another factory, as their contracts would be in force indefinitely.
The farmers now want the Murang’a County Tea Bill 2014 implemented. It proposes formation of a county tea board and farmers say it will save them from extortion by KTDA.