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Operate tea board independently – Eatta

Bridget Ondu @PeopleDailyKe

East Africa Tea Traders Association (Eatta) has asked the government to allow the Tea Board of Kenya and the Tea Research Foundation to operate independent of the tea directorate of the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA).

Eatta has complained that tea, Kenya’s largest export commodity, has not received the adequate attention it requires.

Eatta stated that the foundation does not get sufficient funds for research as it has been placed under Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO).

Speaking on the sidelines of the Tea Industry National Stakeholders Forum in Mombasa, Eatta managing director Edward Mudibo said Kalro is an “amorphous organisation” still grappling with its own problems.

Mudibo said that placing tea research under a livestock research body does not make any sense. “How can you place tea together with crops that are not doing well in Kenya like cotton, sugarcane and pyrethrum? We do not get the respect we need,” said Mudibo.

Mudibo urged the government to re-look onto the issue of merging agricultural and food production agencies into AFA.

Eatta has also called for the appointment of substantive head of AFA and all other agriculture directorates which have been under leadership of acting bosses since 2011. He said this was hindering their performance.

Meanwhile, the process of automating the Mombasa Tea Auction is still on. Mudibo said the process will be completed in March next year.

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