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Agency issues new safety rules for tea buying centres

By Nikko Tanui | March 30th 2020

A farmer delivers green leaf at Kisiet tea buying centre in Kapkatet, Kericho County. [File, Standard]

A maximum of 10 farmers will be allowed inside tea buying centres at a go, Kenya Tea Development Agency has said in new guidelines meant to combat the spread of Covid-19. 

KTDA Operations Director Alfred Njagi, in a circular to factory unit managers and regional managers, said farmers must observe the two-metre social distance and that once they spread the green leaf on tables, they must move out. 

“All the buying centres must operate between 7am and 6:30pm. Any green leaf that remains uncollected by 6:30pm should be collected the next day. The farmers should be informed appropriately of such eventuality,” he said. 

Mr Njagi also instructed factory unit managers to draw a leaf collection timetable for all the centres, alternating the collection for each centre between 7am and 6:30pm daily as appropriate to the catchment area. 

“During the green leaf buying and collection, it is important to have a buying centre committee member, health official or tea extension service assistant present to control the exercise and ensure that all the guidelines given are adhered to,” he said.

Testing utensils

Njagi, at the same time, said all tea testing utensils must be cleaned and rinsed in boiling water at the point of preparing tea samples for tasting. 

“Tea tasters must use individual spoon to put liquor into the tea testing cups and avoid touching the testing cups,” he said. He also directed release of students on attachment, instructed non-essential permanent staff  to proceed for annual leave and seasonal workers be laid off as per their terms of engagement.

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