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
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.