Tea farmers welcome KTDA's new pay proposal

KTDA Zone 6 board member Samuel Ireri shows a smart card for buying tea when he addressed tea farmers at Miandari area, Embu County. (Joseph Muchiri, Standard)

Tea farmers from Mungania Tea Factory in Embu County have welcomed a proposal by the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to review the monthly pay on green leaf delivered to factories to Sh16 down from Sh15.

The farmers said whereas they desired a higher pay of Sh20 as proposed by the Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri, they fear tea pluckers would demand more wages. Presenting their views to the KTDA management at Miandari area, the growers expressed concern that a higher pay to pluckers would consume the enhanced pay and eventually eat into the bonus.

The farmers want the mini-bonus increased from Sh5 to Sh10, a proposal their factory management and county KTDA leadership supports. Bernard Kinyua, a farmer said a pay of Sh16 would sustain their farming activities while a mini-bonus of Sh10 would enable them meet their family needs. 

The farmers said whereas they currently earn Sh15 per kilo, pluckers demand Sh12 leaving them with just Sh3. KTDA Zone 6 board member Samuel Ireri and Mungania tea factory chairman Julius Munthungu who moderated the forum urged farmers to support the Sh1 increment.

They argued that the small increment coupled with an enhanced minibonus would end up benefiting the farmers more. “We lobby for the interest of the farmer and not pluckers.

A higher monthly pay would push up plucking wages and benefit the pluckers at the expense of the growers,” said Ireri. However, a few farmers felt an increment of monthly pay to Sh20, and maintaining of mini bonus at Sh5 would be better for them.   

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