Nandi Governor Cleophas Lagat has called for the complete overhaul of the tea sector to help industry return to profitability.
Dr Lagat said the excessive levies in the tea sector had led to the dwindling producer prices of tea currently experienced by farmers in the country. He said tea farmers were a most frustrated lot due to poor prices with some contemplating uprooting the cash crop due to declining earnings.
“There is need for an overhaul of the management of the tea sector in the country including scrapping of the Kenya Tea Board.
Farmers should get value for their investment in the tea sector,” said Lagat. He claimed there are 19 levies in the tea sector, saying ‘red tape’ should be removed to enable farmers realise good earnings.
“Of the 19, we only know three genuine ones; which are the tax that goes to the exchequer, cess for maintenance of infrastructure in tea-producing regions and levies for tea research. The others should be removed,” said Lagat.
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In an interview with The Standard, the governor whose county comes third in tea production in the country after Bomet and Kericho regretted that some farmers in the county did not even earn the second payment (bonus) last year.