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Farmers in Kiptere want building of new tea factory halted

RIFT VALLEY
By Nikko Tanui | July 19th 2021
Kiptere tea farmers lawyer [Courtesy]

Farmers in Kiptere Zone have written to the new Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) directors to stop the construction of a new factory in Seretut Zone.

The farmers say ousted Momul Factory directors went against the 2013 Annual General Meeting (AGM) resolution by shareholders from six zones that the new Sh1 billion factory would be built in the zone that leads in green leaf production.

“My clients are however shocked to learn that former Momul Factory directors had decided that the new factory will be built at Seretut zone, which had only produced about 21 million kilogrammes of green tea over six years. The factory must be constructed in Kiptere zone, which in the 2014-2020 period produced 36.7 million kilogrammes of tea,” said Kiptere farmers' advocate Sammy Keter.

Through deduction of Sh5 per kilo of tea, farmers from Momul Factory’s six zones have so far raised Sh794.2 million for the construction of the new factory.

“Farmers from the Kiptere zone took the lead by raising Sh183.8 million out of the amount,” said Keter.

Kamaso Zone produced 30.34 million kilogrammes of green tea to raise Sh151.7 million, Kebenet Zone produced 30.31 million kilos to raise Sh151.5 million, while Kabianga produced 9.8 million kilos to raise Sh49.4 million.

According to the farmers, Chemomul zone is not on the list for the location of a new factory since it hosts Momul Factory, which produced 30.5 million kilos of green leaf to raise Sh152.9 million.

“It is absurd for the Seretut zone, which produced 20 million kilogrammes of green leaf and raised Sh104.6 million, to be the location of the new factory, yet Kiptere zone, which produced 36.7 million kilogrammes is passed over,” said Keter.

“The responsibility of deciding the location of the new factory lies squarely on the shareholders in an Annual General Meeting (AGM) as per the Companies Act 2015.”

Keter said no AGM had been held to nullify or reverse the resolution of the shareholders in the 2013 AGM.

“We demand an extra-ordinary general meeting to give directions on where the new factory should be built,” he said.

The farmers asked KTDA not to interfere with their contributions until the location of the new factory is settled.

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