Small scale tea farmers in Kenya are smiling all the way to the bank after the Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) disbursed more than Kshs. 2.47 billion for the 120 million kilogrammes of green leaf delivered during January 2023 alone. The money has been transferred to farmers’ accounts already after a short delay triggered by computer systems hitch before the transfers. According to a press release from KTDA’s corporate communications department, the hitch was ironed out and the authority has advanced plans in place to execute and even double tea farmers’ monthly earnings.
The announcements were made during an occasion officiated by Cabinet Secretary for Mr Agriculture Mithika Linturi who assured tea farmers and stakeholders of the government’s total commitment to supporting the development of the country’s tea sub-sector.
Part of the CS’s statement read as follows: “The most critical thing is also to ensure that there are no delays in the disbursement of dues to our farmers as was the previously before we rolled out massive reforms in the sector, the reforms are still ongoing for our farmers’ interests. The payments are now prompt and we plan to improve on this even further”
The statement adds that this disbursement is a follow-up to the Kshs. 5.5 billion KTDA made to small-holder tea farmers for their tea delivered during December 2022 alone. The disbursements were made through the more than 70 tea factories that are spread across the country’s tea-producing regions, they also included mini bonuses for the green leaf delivered in the half-year that ended on December 31st, 2022 and more are expected this year.
The farmers will be paid between Kshs. 5 to 10 per kilo for the crop delivered during the said period. The statement says that out of the Kshs. 5.5 billion, Kshs. 2.7 billion is for mini-bonuses whose factory directors passed resolutions to pay small-holder tea farmers while the rest of the money, Kshs. 2.8 billion will pay for the crop delivered within that month (December). “That during the same month, tea prices at the auction for the KTDA tea was Kshs. 326 per kilo compared to the previous year’s prices which stood at Kshs. 306 and this developments are expected to improve even better in the coming months,” the stamen reads.
That the Kshs. 2.7 billion mini-bonuses paid to the farmers represent 449 million kilos of green leaf delivered to the KTDA factories during the period under review. The KTDA chairman David Ichoho said that it was a good sign that the first payment was made just before the opening of schools and for which the smallholder tea farmers of KTDA had been anxiously waiting.
Mr Ichoho said: “As part of our extensive reforms, we promised our farmers that they will be getting their monies on the 5th or before of the following month after deliveries of their green leaf to factories for processing.”
He thanked stakeholders in the tea industry and particularly the government led by President William Ruto, his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua and C.S. Linturi for the support they have accorded KTDA and farmers since they got elected into office last year.