Nandi needs five more tea fac­to­ries, says Sireet of­fi­cial

The Star (Kenya) - - News -

Nandi county needs five more tea pro­cess­ing plants to cut wastage of the green leaf, top tea of­fi­cials have said.

Farm­ers lose more than 400,000 ki­los of leaves daily es­ti­mated at Sh7 billion, be­cause of in­ad­e­quate ca­pac­ity of the ex­ist­ing 19 tea fac­to­ries, Sireet Tea Com­pany chair­man Wil­son Tuwei has said.

The fac­to­ries can only process 600,000 ki­los daily. The re­main­der goes to waste, or is sold at a throw-away price to mid­dle­men, who sell it to the newly es­tab­lished Mt El­gon Tea in Tran­sN­zoia county.

Tuwei, who was with fac­tory of­fi­cials Paul Tiony and Paul Mu­gun, said small­holder farm­ers pro­duce about 60 per cent of the raw tea, adding they are the hard­est hit. Speak­ing dur­ing a tour of the firm’s premises in Nandi Hills, Tuwei said about one mil­lion ki­los of fresh leaves are pro­duced daily.

Tuwei said the farm­ers have shunned the Kenya Tea De­vel­op­ment Agency for pri­vate mills, due to what they called “com­pli­cated mode of man­age­ment” by the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The small­holder farm­ers’ agency, KTDA, has two fac­to­ries in Nandi – Che­but in Kapsa­bet town, and Kap­tumo in Nandi Al­dai sub­county. Multi­na­tional firms have 16 fac­to­ries, while the sta­te­owned Nyayo Tea Zones De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion has one at Kipch­abo in Ch­e­sumei sub­county.

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