Farmers in Mt Kenya region will now receive Sh5 more per kilo of tea delivered to factories monthly as the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) moves to increase their pay.
They will receive Sh21 per kilo of green leaf, up from Sh16 monthly advance payment, starting this month.
This follows a directive by President Kenyatta that KTDA pays farmers not less than 50 per cent of their deliveries, while the balance will be paid out as the final payment in October.
The move is part of the radical changes that have been proposed to rid the multibillion-shilling industry of cartels that have stifled it, making farmers earn less through underpayments.
The changes — effective January — were communicated through a memo to factories in the East of Rift Valley.
According to KTDA national chairman Peter Kanyago, the increment in monthly pay also means that farmers will no longer enjoy the Sh5 mini-bonus normally issued in March.
Mr Kanyago further noted that the final payment, referred to as bonus, will be reduced compared to previous years.
“They (farmers) should expect less money in bonus payment because they will have already consumed part of the monies and we are paying them a lot more,” the KTDA boss added.
Further, the agency noted that it was making the payout increases amid low prices for the commodity at the Mombasa auction.
According to a report by the agency, tea prices had dipped by 13.3 per cent in the last seven months owing to over production that has been favoured by good weather.
At the same time, farmers in the West of Rift will not enjoy an increment and will continue to earn between Sh16 and Sh18 per kilogramme of green leaf.
A KTDA insider, who requested anonymity because they are not authorised to speak on behalf of the agency, explained that, “[this is because] what they receive is already above 50 per cent of their annual final pay.”