Ban tea hawking, agency demands

 Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) wants tea hawking, which is thriving in Mt Kenya region banned with immediate effect.

The agency claims that the trend is hurting factory operations as they are not receiving enough produce for processing.

Speaking during a tea sector stakeholders’ forum in Murang’a, KTDA representatives Kano Dodana and Mark Macharia accused private tea processing companies of propagating tea hawking and duping farmers with quick cash.

The two said hawking has created unfair competition between KTDA and the brokers as the former only gives Sh15 per kilogramme.

Macharia, who is a director at Kanyenyaini tea factory, said they have lost tea worth Sh100 million to brokers.

Private processors, however, opposed the move saying KTDA is trying to block other players in the sector who are providing an alternative market for farmers.

David Maina, an official from Njeru Industries, a private tea processing company in Meru called for market liberation.

“Last year we paid Sh100 million to the farmers who supplied green tea leaves to us,” said Maina.

The Agriculture Food Authority (AFA) interim chair Anthony Muriithi said they are working to resolve the crisis in the tea sector and ban tea hawking.

He said they shall enforce the law in all tea growing zone to curb the trend which has given rise to tea theft in some areas.                  

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