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Tea farmers decry low bonus payment as rate drops by 40 percent

By Rael Jelimo | April 3rd 2017

NANDI, KENYA: Small scale tea growers who supply green leaf for processing in factories run by multi-national companies are accusing management of the firms over poor payment in their monthly and second payments (bonus).

Out-growers supplying green tea to at least 15 factories have complained that this year's tea bonus prices dropped by 40 per cent compared to last years' payments.

In a press statement, Wilson Kiprono Barno raised suspicion that the multinational tea companies were ‘extorting’ them of their rightful tea earnings.

Barno noted that despite the companies generating huge profits from the tea, farmers were being awarded low bonuses and first payments.

Barno cited Eastern Produce Kenya Limited (EPK) where he claimed the company deliberately lowered their tea bonus earnings from Sh 25 per kilogram last year to Sh 16 per kilo this year.

"Out-growers have endured low payments by private tea firms’ and our complaints against this has gone unnoticed," argued the farmer.

Barno who was accompanied by some tea farmers from Nandi-Hills and Tinderet constituency further complained that the firms’ management had refused to reveal their profits and loss statements to them each year.

"Each year the tea companies give the excuse that they have made losses with intent to lower our bonuses and monthly payments; they have however been adamant in revealing their profit and loss statements," added the farmers' spokesman.

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