By Ndungu Gachane
Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) continues to suffer a serious backlash from tea farmers who now claim its affiliate KTDA power company was registered without consultations and approval of tea farmers.
The farmers led by Moffat Kamau, Thuita Macharia, James Wambugu among others said it would be only fair for the management of the agency to wind up or stopped by Afa to manage any tea factory.
According to tea farmers drawn from Makomboki and Kanyenyaini tea factories in Muranga, the agency has vacated its core mandate and purpose of managing the small holder tea produce.
“KTDA is a creation of sessional paper no 99 of 1999 for the purpose of managing small scale holder tea produce, since then KTDA gas diversified horizontally and vertically without the approval of factory shareholders they should only wind up and leave,” the tea farmers said.
They claim the KTDA power company limited was registered without consultation and approval of tea farmers and forced down to their throats despite their resistance.
“It was created as a conduit for misappropriation of tea farmers earning through white elephant projects,” they alleged, citing an example of deduction done to Makomboki tea factory farmers in 2010 towards the power project which they referred to as an amorphous project which they allege has not been actualized.
They farmers added that KTDA has subjected them from abject poverty since 1999 adding that time has come for the agency to leave the management of factories to farmers.
“We no longer need them in our factories, we can source managerial staff from our rich labour market,” they said.
They said the regulations by the State was for the good of farmers but KTDA and EATTA (East African Tea Trade Association) have rejected them due to what they term as the reforms’ revolutionary and progressive in nature.
They said the regulations have come to disturb the two institutions from their comfort zone adding that the two have been the twin major problems in the tea sector.