Kenyan lobby hails tea sector reforms as small-scale growers get benefits

Source: Xinhua| 2020-04-18 00:22:46|Editor: huaxia

NAIROBI, April 17 (Xinhua) -- The umbrella body representing small-scale tea farmers in Kenya on Friday commended the government for implementing reforms aimed at promoting good governance in the sub-sector.

Irungu Nyakera, chairman of Kenya Tea Sector Lobby, said the reforms will benefit small-holder farmers through streamlined value chains, prudent management of tea factories, value addition and improved market linkages.

"These structural reforms will help ring-fence farmer's earnings, instill corporate governance in tea factories and weed out exploitative cartels in the sub-sector," Nyakera said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in December 2019 directed the ministry of agriculture to carry out sweeping reforms in the tea sub-sector in order to enhance its competitiveness and contribution to economic development.

Kenyatta said that structural reforms in the tea industry were overdue amid governance hiccups across key value chains, market volatility and reduced farmers' income.

Peter Munya, cabinet secretary for agriculture, livestock, fisheries and cooperatives on Wednesday launched a blueprint to guide the implementation of key reforms in the tea sector.

"The government intends to undertake major reforms in the tea sub-sector to address challenges like a dysfunctional auction market, predatory behavior by factories' management and low prices," Munya said at the launch of the blueprint.

He said there is a political goodwill to streamline the tea sector that contributes about 23 percent of total foreign exchange earnings in Kenya and support livelihoods of over 5 million citizens.

The small-holder tea farmers lobby hailed creation of an electronic tea auction platform that is part of reforms in the sector, saying it will help weed out exploitative middlemen.

"We welcome the proposal to have sale of tea to the export market done exclusively through an electronic auction process that is both transparent and fair," said Nyakera.

He lauded the creation of a stabilization fund to cushion small-holder tea growers from price volatility, adding that an overhaul of marketing structures and promotion of local consumption is key to reinvigorate performance of the sub-sector. Enditem