Munya issues value addition ultimatum to exporters of tea
LICENSE: Tea exporters have been told to increase investment in value addition or risk cancellation of their licences.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya warned that exporters who fail to show incremental value addition of up to 40 per cent in eight years would be denied the opportunity to sell the same.
He said the State plans to impose stringent tea farming and production measures, particularly, on value addition to enable Kenyan tea to compete with global competitors.
Munya said the Tea Bill which is waiting Senate’s approval after successfully sailing through the National Assembly will enable the country to compete with such as Sri Lanka, the only country practicing value addition.
“We have proposed that we progressively undertake value addition of our tea to be achieved within eight years, from the time the new law takes effect,” he added.
Munya who spoke at Kamonde ACK Church in Limuru during a meeting with the Limuru Highlands Tea Zonal Association (LHZA) yesterday thanked farmers for believing in the government’s commitment in tea reforms in the country.
He was flanked by officials from his ministry and met with small and large scale tea farmers from Red Hill, Kentmere, Riara and Cianda.
A farmer, James Chege had asked the government to improve the production through recommended value addition, since Kenya consumes only five per cent of what is produced locally and the rest is exported.
Munya also said a lot of taxes had been removed, so that farmers and key stakeholders can realise profits and hence continue engaging in tea farming.
He asked the Senate to pass the Tea Bill as the government embarks on protecting the interest and profits tea farmers expect as well as improving farming.
Munya said LHZA produces 15 to 17 million kiloggrammes of made-tea annually, which is valued at Sh4 billion.
He applauded the National Assembly for passing the bill and the role it played in educating farmers about the tea bill during public participation meetings.
He said the Tea Bill has just been passed by the National Assembly and is headed to Senate.