KTDA bags Murang'a tea firms' management deal after new talks

A tea farmer in Tetu, Nyeri. Tea farmers want the new government to fix the maximum guaranteed returns for tea crop at Sh 80 per kilo. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

Murang’a tea factories have concluded negotiations on the management agreement contracts and selected Kenya Tea Development Agency Management Services (KTDA - MS) as their managing agent.

After two months of negotiations, 80 directors settled on KTDA MS after they agreed to follow the terms and conditions set in the draft agreement formulated by a consultant who collected views from the farmers.

On Friday, the directors led by the Chairman of Murang’a tea caucus Prof Joseph Karanja settled on KTDA MS after it agreed the management levy be paid at 1.5 per cent of the net sale, with directors left to be in charge of finances.

In the past, the management fee was paid at 2.5 per cent, with the factories paying salaries for the seconded employees, coupled with misuse of resources by the managers as they frustrated the directors.

In the agreement, the management agent will be responsible for the salaries of the employees seconded to the factories. “It is a breakthrough for Murang’a farmers after the agreement went our way as the issues surrounding the management of the finances have been devolved,” said Karanja.

Karanja said Friday was the last day for the negotiations as the factories would have managed themselves as the law allows it if they failed to get the best agent.

Kiru factory chairman Chege Kirundi, the brainchild behind the tea reforms, described the negotiations as successful as the wishes of the farmers have been met.

Kirundi said it was difficult to implement the reforms owing to resistance. “This is the greatest win for the Kenyan farmers,” said Kirundi.

The Tea Board of Kenya member Charles Kirigwi in charge east of Rift said the conclusion of the negotiation will see growers concentrate on production as the directors seek new markets.

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