Yesterday, Nandi farmers set ablaze a leaf carrier belonging to Kipchabo Tea Factory – Nyayo Tea Zone Development Corporation (NTZDC), a government-owned facility over poor pay.
Mr Peter Korir, the Managing Director of NTZDC is accused of mismanagement and looting.
Attempts by farmers to resolve the pay dispute amicably fell on deaf ears.
“Farmers demonstrated in Kipchabo last week since management has not solved their problems. That has escalated with the burning of the tea truck”, said a source who wrote to Kenyanbulletin.com.
He added, “Sad as it may look, the message is very clear, that low prices are not a preserve of KTDA (Kenya Tea Development Agency) but an industry phenomenon hence this ought to be an awakening for those demonizing KTDA. So let them fix NTZDC factories as well”.
KTDA has been on the spotlight too for taking advantage of farmers, forcing the CS for Agriculture Peter Munya to create a National Steering Committee on the Implementation of Tea Reforms in Kenya.
The committee is charged with doing research that will see tea farmers earn more from their produce. This will be done through evaluating policy, regulatory and administrative reforms in the tea value chain.
It will include proposing a necessary reform to transform the Kenya Tea Auction into an efficient and transparent Commodity Exchange free of insider trading and capture by vested interests.
The study will also identify changes on the role of the Kenya Tea Development Agency in the management of smallholder tea growers as well as establish a Tea Price Stabilisation Fund to underwrite risks associated with price volatility and low earnings by farmers.
KTDA moved to court to stop this, arguing that the 6 months period given is too short to undertake such reforms as even as these reforms seem continuos and should not be pegged on timelines.
The message on the ground, however, is that farmers want and support tea reforms. Farmers in Nandi County Kipchabo Tea Factory – Nyayo Tea Zone Development Corporation (NTZDC) have sent that message.
— Crime Watch Nairobi (@suemc_phee) June 29, 2017