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Kenyan firms warned over exploiting farmers, workers

By Michael Chepkwony | Published Tue, November 8th 2016 at 00:00, Updated November 7th 2016 at 22:24 GMT +3
Bett who spoke during the launch of a private tea factory in Tindiret Constituency, Nandi County, on Saturday, said the Government would take action against all public and private factories exploiting workers and farmers.PHOTO: COURTESY

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett has warned tea and sugar factories against exploiting farmers and workers.

Bett who spoke during the launch of a private tea factory in Tindiret Constituency, Nandi County, on Saturday, said the Government would take action against all public and private factories exploiting workers and farmers.

The same sentiments were shared by area MP Julius Melly who said: "Both the national and county governments should also put in place measures to cushion farmers from exploitation."

"I will not be silent as factories take advantage of workers and farmers. I will join hands with leaders who are also against such ill treatment and petition the Government to take action," Melly said.

Statements by the two leaders came barely two weeks after sugarcane farmers in Chemase, Nandi County, complained of exploitation by private millers.

The factories are reportedly paying them Sh2, 500 per tonne against the market price of Sh3,500.

Chemase Sugarcane Farmers Union chairman Thomas Choge accused both the national and county governments of doing nothing to safeguard farmers from exploitation.

Meanwhile, Bett said he had simplified licensing of private tea and sugar factories in a bid to expand the sectors and create employment.

"Things have since changed. We have put in place structures to ensure private investors get licences within the shortest time possible," said Bett.