Nandi needs five more tea factories, says Sireet official
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.