Team wants taxes on tea scrapped

Tea farmers follow when Senate Ad Hoc Committee on tea visited farmers in Kianjokoma market, Embu County. [Joseph Muchiri, Standard]
A Senate team has called for scrapping of 43 taxes imposed on tea farmers to maximise profits.

The chairman of the ad hoc committee on tea, Aaron Cheruiyot, yesterday said the taxes on the tea value chain have increased operation costs which is eating into farmers' earnings.

Cheruiyot, who spoke at Kianjokoma Market in Embu North, where the senators met tea farmers, said whereas farmers work hard to produce high quality tea, most of them are struggling to meet basic needs due to poor pay.

“The committee has been going round the country meeting tea farmers to know what they want done to improve their lives. The farmers want government to review taxes so that they benefit from their hard work,” said Cheruiyot.

Major problem

He noted that brokers have also become a major problem to tea farming as they pocket huge sums of money at the expense of the growers themselves. 

Cheruiyot said once they complete compiling the report, they will rally their counterparts in the Senate to adopt it so as to rescue the tea farmers from exploitative middlemen and punitive taxes.

Cheruiyot who was accompanied by area Senator Njeru Ndwiga, Bomet's Christopher Langat and Irungu Kang’ata of Murang’a also called on the Government to write off debts farmers owe it.

Farmers said multiple taxes are impoverishing them. Some are now hawking green leaves to increase their income.

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