National Assembly lobby to establish a tea reserve fund

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019 00:00 |
A small scale tea farmer picks tea. Photo/PD/File

Two members of the National Assembly want the government to establish a reserve fund to cushion tea farmers against poor prices.

Bureti MP Japheth Mutai and Brighton Yegon, MP Konoin, said there was a need to establish the fund as a matter of urgency. 

The two said farmers could not meet their needs due to fluctuating prices of the produce in the world market.

Speaking in Kericho yesterday after holding a meeting with directors of some Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) run factories, the lawmakers said the tea sector was one of the leading foreign exchange earners in the country yet farmers were the hardest hit when prices plummet.

“We want farmers to get good prices from tea throughout the year even when prices plummet in the world market.

We are asking the Ministry of Agriculture to establish a reserve fund to ensure farmers get a constant price even when teas fetch low prices,” said Mutai.

World market

The MPs were reacting to the hue and cry by tea farmers across the country over low payment this year due to a shrink in prices in the world market.

“I am going to lobby my colleagues in Parliament to pass legislation towards establishing the reverse fund. 

“We are not going to sit back and watch as our farmers suffer due to low prices,” said Yegon.

They also attributed low tea prices to cartels at KTDA and its factories who they claimed were out to fleece farmers and enrich themselves.

“Cartels in the market chain are colluding to deprive farmers better pay and we are not going to accept this anymore.

So we are asking the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to swing into action immediately and investigate the issue and arrest those behind the deals,” said Mutai.

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