Blame KTDA direc­tors for low bonuses, CS tells tea farm­ers

Bett crit­i­cises farm­ers from western Rift Val­ley for fail­ing to in­stil fac­to­ries’ man­ag­ment dis­ci­pline, wants them to elect ca­pa­ble reps to re­duce overhead costs

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics Ministries - BARRY SALIL @bar­rysalil (+)

Kenya Tea De­vel­op­ment Agency direc­tors are to blame for farm­ers’ poor tea bonuses, Agri­cul­ture CS Willy Bett has said.

He sin­gled out direc­tors from Rift Val­ley’s western tea grow­ing zones. Bett crit­i­cised them for fail­ing to in­still dis­ci­pline in their KTDA­man­aged fac­to­ries, re­sult­ing in poor year-end pay.

He said farm­ers have a duty to par­tic­i­pate in en­sur­ing overhead costs in the pro­cess­ing of their pro­duce are re­duced.

“Year-end tea fi­nal pay­ments are cal­cu­lated on the qual­ity of the leaf bought by the fac­to­ries and the cost of op­er­a­tions. This is high in western parts of the Rift,” Bett said.

He spoke at Kaplel­met Pri­mary School in Nandi Hills at a func­tion at­tended by Deputy Pres­i­dent William Ruto.

The CS urged farm­ers to elect direc­tors who are com­mit­ted to meet­ing their needs.

Bett said the gov­ern­ment is not to blame over the prices of their pro­duce, adding it is the duty of farm­ers and share­hold­ers to elect knowl­edge­able peo­ple.

He said the min­istry is au­tomat­ing the Mom­basa Tea Auc­tion to en­sure each fac­tory and its farm­ers get di­rect in­for­ma­tion on the prices of their pro­duce.

“The ball stops with share­hold­ers. They must re­ject peo­ple who bribe their way to fac­tory boards, de­spite hav­ing no knowl­edge on how the tea mar­ket op­er­ates,” Bett said.

He was re­act­ing to protests by farm­ers who blamed their fac­to­ries over poor pay. They said those from the Mt Kenya re­gion earn bet­ter than they do.

Bett said the prices re­flect the kind of lead­ers farm­ers elect. He said board mem­bers should be able to ex­plain to their farm­ers the rea­son be­hind the huge dis­crep­ancy be­tween Rift Val­ley and Cen­tral re­gions.

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