Regulator issues notice to license 11 tea dealers

Tea farmers at a meeting in Embu County. [File, Standard]

A State agency plans to issue licences to 11 tea dealers, among them tea packers, to venture into tea marketing.

The dealers include five private tea processors, based in the western Kenya, each with a capacity to handle five million kilogrammes of green leaf annually.

Agriculture Food Authority (AFA) interim Director General Antony Mureithi has invited those who object to the licensing of the dealers to lodge their petitions within 14 days.

In a Kenya Gazette notice, Mureithi has notified the public of the intention to issue licences to Bronze Tea Limited of Kericho for tea export.

No objection

If there is no objection, the regulator will by May 25 grant licences to the players in the tea value chain who have met requirements.

Others eyeing processing licences are Kenyakea, Maturiwa, Sombogo and Chemalal tea firms.

Speaking in Murang’a, Mureithi said all qualified players in the tea sector must be licensed.

He said AFA was encouraging establishment of more tea processing factories to create more employment.

Meanwhile, farmers affiliated to Rukuriri Tea Factory in Embu County are disappointed after they were paid a mini-bonus of Sh5 per kilo of green leaf delivered between July and December, last year.

Their factory board had announced it would pay them Sh10.5 per kilo, contrary to Kenya Tea Development Agency’s recommendation which capped a kilo at Sh5.

Factory directors in the larger part of Mt Kenya region have defended the Sh5 mini-bonus, saying the figure was agreed on in board meetings.