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Munya declares war on KTDA in mission to streamline tea sector

Agriculture CS Peter Munya adresses tea farmers at Ndakaini grounds in Gatanga. He said the government is committed to streamline the sector. [Boniface Gikandi]  

Agriculture CS Peter Munya has slammed the Judiciary for issuing orders which have a negative impact on agriculture-related projects facilitated by the government.

Munya claimed some reforms in the agricultural sector have stalled due to orders issued by courts.

He cited cases involving the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) and irrigation projects as some of the suits that have delayed the reform process.

“Thiba Dam completion is another state project funded by JICA that has delayed for six years, due to litigation-related issues that have forced the government to pay penalties running into millions of shillings."

The KTDA application was declared urgent by the court in June only to be allocated a hearing date three months later, he said.

Speaking at Ndakaini Dam in Murang’a during a meeting with farmers' representatives from 10 tea factories, the CS said the government is determined to rescue small-scale holders through formulation of effective regulations.

He was with Agriculture Food Authority Interim Director Anthony Muriithi and MPs Nduati Ngugi (Gatanga) and Sabina Chege (Murang’a), who supported the regulations.

The meeting was attended by KTDA directors from Murang’a and Nyeri who also backed the regulations.

Munya said the reform agenda to streamline the tea sector started in 2014 on orders from President Uhuru Kenyatta will not be ignored.

The public participation forums started in April and all the players submitted their recommendations, including KTDA.

The election of directors, he said, will be through ‘One Grower One Vote’ as outlined in the regulations which has not been changed.

According to the CS, the Judiciary is slowing the reform process that had started bearing fruit after the government outlawed the Overseas Direct Sale (ODS) tea market.

Te government is further working to digitise the auction centre.

Meanwhile, Kariara MCA Joel Murigi was heckled at the meeting when he said county assemblies should be left to handle the role of formulating policies in the agriculture sector.

The government, he said, has recommended digitisation of the auction system upon discovery of fraudulent prices.

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