Kenya lacks clear tea policy - traders

The policy seeks to conform with the current realities in the tea sector

In Summary

• The reviewed draft national tea policy identified low productivity and negative impacts of climate change on tea production as key areas that need to be looked into. 

• Insufficient development and transfer of technology, high cost of inputs and multiple taxation regimes were also key areas in the draft policy.

A farmer picks tea leaves in Othaya, Nyeri county
A farmer picks tea leaves in Othaya, Nyeri county
Image: FILE/

Tea industry players want the tea policy first drafted in 2014 fast tracked and put in place.

Edward Mudibo, managing director East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) said the country cannot deal with such an important sector without a coherent guidelines.  

He noted that the first draft policy was done in 2013, and finalised in 2014.

“After that nothing much happened so key tea stakeholders engaged a consultant to relook at the initial draft of 2013/2014 and fill up the gaps," he said.

This, he said was done and the draft validated by all the stakeholders noting that the next step is for the draft to be taken up by the policy division of the government.

Mudibo spoke to the Star on the sidelines of the National Tea Multi-stakeholder meeting in Nairobi.

“The areas that have been reviewed in the draft policy are broad-based and within the tea value chain<' he said.

These range from husbandry, factory processing, quality standards and exports.

Mudibo said all the gaps whether they involved the producer, warehouse dealer, tea broker, to the point of export were looked at.

Willis Kosura a consultant involved in drafting of the policy said key areas that need to be looked into include low productivity, negative impacts of climate change on tea production, insufficient development and transfer of technology.

Also of concern is the cost of inputs and multiple taxation regimes, insufficient targeted value addition and product diversification.

Other areas are inadequate legal, regulatory and institutional framework and governance challenges as well as low incentives to investments and price fluctuation.

Mudibo said the first call to action should be the development of a position paper to the Ministry of Agriculture to challenge the high tax duty levied by KRA.

He said there is also need to come up with a unified position for engaging certification bodies including Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade Africa among others.

“The next step will be to present the draft policy and engage the government through the respective PS and discuss on a way forward, so that they can actualise the approval of the policy,” he said.

Rachel Wanyoike, managing director Solidaridad East and Central Africa said there is a need to scale up value addition in the tea sector and develop a structured national platform that is inclusive.

“This is in addition to galvanising the different voices from producers, packers and buyers as well as institutionalising the dialogue at a common platform so the industry speaks with one voice,” she said.

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