Steve Umidha @steveumidha
The wrangle between Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) and private leaf buyers in Meru county has intensified after a section of tea farmers from Igembe protested against the agency claiming it has been exploiting them.
Farmers from Nduume, Kiegoi in Igembe South yesterday accused KTDA of trying to block them from selling the produce to private firms. Led by Andrew Mwilaria,the angry farmers alleged that the agency has been exploiting them by buying tea at a low price and giving the low bonus at the end of the year.
“KTDA is trying to kill the small-scale farmer by blocking us from selling tea to private companies while they buy as low as Sh12 to Sh15 per kilogramme .This is our product and we have a right to sell to anybody or any institution that pays us well,”said Mwilaria.
At the same time they blamed the tea agency of rejecting some of the harvested green tea leaves by terming them as waste, a move they said has made farmers poorer.
The farmers have, however, have urged the Ministry of Agriculture to intervene and ensure they are protected from exploitation by KTDA.