Tea farmers in Mt Kenya region will now receive Sh5 more for their produce as the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) moves to increase their pay.
Each farmer will receive Sh21 per kilogramme of green leaf delivered to their respective factories, up from Sh16 monthly starting this month.
This follows a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta to the agency to pay farmers not less than 50 per cent of their deliveries while the balance will be paid out during 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 the sector by denying farmers their rightful share through underpayments.
“This is to inform you that as is usual from time to time, the Board has reviewed the initial green leaf payment rate from Sh16 to Sh21 per kilo of leaf with effect from January 2021,” read a memo to factories in the East of Rift.
No mini bonus
According to KTDA National Chairman Peter Kanyago, the increment in monthly pay also means that farmers will no longer enjoy the mini bonus that is given in March.
Farmers received Sh5 as mini bonus to cushion them against harsh economic times and to enable them afford basic needs.
“We have increased the pay by Sh5 to increase the monthly pay… this means they will no longer enjoy the mini bonus as the cash flow will not allow,” he said.
He further noted that farmers will have to understand that the final payment made in October will be a lot less than previous years.
“They 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,” he added.
Further, the agency noted that it is paying more to farmers while the prices for the commodity at the Mombasa auction have dipped.
According to a report by KTDA, tea prices have dipped by 13.3 per cent over 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 of their pay as they will continue to receive Sh16 and Sh18 per kilogramme of green leaf.
“For this other region, there will be no change in payment per kilo because what they receive is already above 50 per cent of their annual final pay,” said a source which cannot be quoted.