Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) yesterday signed a Sh3.5 billion financing deal with Standard Chartered Bank Kenya for the purchase of fertiliser, in what is a big win for over 650,000 farmers.
The deal will see KTDA supply the tea farmers spread across the country with 95,000 tonnes of fertiliser to boost yields at a time when global prices of the commodity are plummeting.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, KTDA Group Chief Executive Lerionka Tiampati said the deal will help farmers access affordable fertiliser that will go towards improving the quality and yield of their tea.
“We are pleased to be signing this partnership with Standard Chartered Bank as it will enable us acquire fertiliser which will be distributed to our farmers at the most competitive rates we can obtain,” he said.
“The fertiliser will assist farmers improve the yield and quality of their green leaf.”
Global prices for tea have been on a free-fall for the past one year, and an increase in yields might compensate for the loss in price.
Tea production for the month of March 2019 decreased to 26.46 million kilogrammes compared to 30.98 million recorded during the corresponding month of 2018, according to the Tea Directorate.
“Lower production was largely attributed to drier weather conditions and delayed onset of long rains’ season experienced in all the tea growing areas during the period up to March,” said the directorate.
Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Chief Executive Kariuki Ngari said the deal was in line with the lender’s strategy of providing tailor-made solutions to its clients.
“We are delighted to be announcing this partnership with KTDA as it seeks to provide affordable fertiliser to its members. Tea is a key export sector that earns the country much needed foreign exchange,” he said.
“Standard Chartered Bank is therefore at the forefront of driving agriculture through corporates like KTDA and hence bringing prosperity to farmers.”
Last year, through a similar arrangement, KTDA procured and distributed fertiliser to farmers at Sh1,774 per 50kg bag against the prevailing market price of Sh2,700.