By Allan Wanjiku
Tea farmers have expressed their support to Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA saying the agency has revitalized tea farming and uplifted their way of life.
The farmers have also rejected the proposed tea reforms saying they are not privy to regulations and instead called on the Ministry of Agriculture to organize open forums for public participation.
A section of farmers drawn from Ngere Tea factory told journalists on Saturday that they are contented with the way the agency runs its affairs and programs towards tea farming.
“Last year Ngere tea factory received 38 million kilograms of green leaf and we received better pay, we don’t know our fate if the agency is interfered with by the State,” Mr Muturi Wainaina from Wanduhi village said.
He said tea farming has progressively turned around his way of life saying he has not seen anything negative that would guarantee regulations.
But he said any move to introduce changes in the agency should be agreed upon by the agency itself, stakeholders and farmers in an open transparent and honest discussions.
“Should there be any discussion in the manner which the agency is ran, then it should be in an open manner without secrecy and isolation,” he added.
On his part, Mr Manyara added that the biggest challenge in tea farming is the farmers who took huge loans which they not able to service.
“The reasons why some farmers suffer is because of huge loans that they borrow without proper planning, and we can’t blame KTDA, all what is required is financial literacy skills and its implementation,” he said.
The farmers added that government was also a hindrance to the tea sector due to its massive taxes imposed on tea saying instead of government wanting to control the agency through the regulations, they ought to reduce the taxes and compliment farmers on value addition to increase their earnings,” farmers said.