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Murang'a tea factories to sign agent deal with KTDA

 A woman plucking tea at her farm in Tetu, Nyeri. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

The long-awaited management agreement between Murang’a tea factories and the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) will be signed on Wednesday.

The contract between the ten factories and KTDA Management Services will be signed, following pressure by the Tea Board of Kenya (TBK) after the June 30, 2023, deadline expired.

Other tea factories in the country signed the contract last year as Murang'a continued with negotiations.

The year-long delay followed several negotiations between the directors and the representatives of the management agent over the control of the finances estimated at Sh15 billion annually.

In the agreement, seen by The Standard, KTDA will handle green leaf processing and human resource responsibilities, with the factories controlling the resources.

"There will be a consultative meeting for all directors in zones two and three at Thika Green Golf Resort Hotel on Wednesday, 10th January 2024, starting at 10.00 am,” reads the notice to the directors in Murang’a representing ten factories.

On Sunday, KTDA board members Chege Kirundi and James Githinji confirmed that the management agreement will be signed on Wednesday to bring to an end the negotiation process.

They said the factories would be in charge of the finances, and issues that led to a stalemate during the negotiations had been resolved, and they brought the directors together on the same platform.

“We have been waiting for the day as the directors have been yearning to accomplish the process for the small-scale growers to enjoy the reforms,” said Githinji.

Kirundi who also the chairman at Kiru Tea Factory, said the negotiations took a long time as the directors were keen on the best deal for the farmers.

He noted that the management contract fee has been reduced from 2.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent from the sale of the proceeds.

“We stood on our principles to ensure factories in Murang’a controlled the resources, leaving the agent to handle the processing of green leaf,” said Kirundi.

TBK Director Charles Kirigwi, representing East of Rift, said KTDA MS and directors from the tea factories will sign the agreement.

“The two parties have scheduled Wednesday to meet at Thika Green Golf Course in Gatanga to sign the agreement to conform with the tea reforms,” said Kirigwi.

Murang'a Tea Caucus Chairman Joseph Karanja, said the agreement will be signed as scheduled to allow the small-scale holders to benefit.

“This marks the end of the long journey that the directors have made to ensure the farmers benefit from reforms,” said Prof Karanja, who chairs the board at Ngere tea factory.

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