Tea farmers cry foul over proposed regulations
By David Musundi
Tea farmers in Trans Nzoia County have taken issue with proposed 2020 regulations geared towards regulating factories within the sector as suggested by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.
The tea stakeholders said a number of clauses within the regulations override the intention of promoting small scale farmers and told the government to rescind its decision.
“The clause on 50 per cent payment is vague and is it does not give a detailed framework of achieving the percentage. We propose that the current payment system be retained,” said one of the farmers.
Former Kenya Seed Managing Director Nathaniel Tum who is a leading tea farmers said regulation is not clear as it renders the current fleet in factories redundant yet the farmers have invested heavily in leaf carriers that served all the farmers collectively.
“Regulation 10(19) states the 69 factories will not have the capacity for ordering fertilizer, machinery and other inputs thus the corporate advantage under the economies of scale. This will disadvantage the small scale tea farmers,” said Tum.
Former Nominated Senator Zipporah Kittony said KTDA brand is a big advantage to the 69 factories in terms of sale at the auction without the KTDA brand name, the consumers may not buy tea that they are not familiar with.
Kittony opposed rule 10 (7)which requires a factory to have 250 hectares of planted tea before renewal of their licenses saying the rule will see many factories close shop.
“The rule implies that farmers must give up land to the factory. This is unconstitutional since it interferes with an individual’s right to own property,” said Mrs. Kittony.