Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) has ordered a reversal of deductions erroneously effected in March 2023 towards payments of fertiliser to farmers.
National Chairman David Ichoho, who was speaking during a consultative forum between KTDA and tea directors from 37 factories east of the Rift Valley, noted that farmers would be reimbursed immediately.
Farmers had protested the deduction of Sh500 per bag of 50 kilogrammes (kgs) of fertiliser which was effected this month. Previously, KTDA used to deduct only Sh1.50 per kg of green leaf supplied per year.
Ichoho said the consultative meeting was a follow-up forum to come up with a harmonised draft for the Management System as proposed by the tea act.
"One of the requirements of the Act is to have a management agreement between KTDA and the 37 factories. We are agreeing on various scopes of the work that should be met by the management and role of the boards and staff hired within our institutions," Ichoho said.
He said the proposals were diverse bearing in mind that factories were coming from different levels of liquidity in terms of development, infrastructure and size. "Ideally, the needs vary from one factory to the other, but we are keen to develop a harmonised draft that will take care of all the major issues.
"All are in agreement that manufacturing of tea and management cannot be done by farmers and we must ensure we get experts of international level taking note that our tea is exported across the globe," Ichoho said.
He said they would be seeking advice from the Attorney General to amend some clauses in the Act, adding that farmers lost 100 million kgs of tea in the first quarter of this year due to climate change and drought.