Japanese tea buyers fund library for farmers

Zensho group of companies build library, equip with books for Sh2 million high quality tea

In Summary

• The Sh800,000 library was built at Rukuriri Primary School for farmers' children. 

• Library was constructed and equipped through the Kenya Tea Development Authority Foundation. 

Rukuriri Tea Factory director Joshua Kanake in Embu
SHOWING APPRECIATION: Rukuriri Tea Factory director Joshua Kanake in Embu
Image: Reuben Githinji

A Japanese company that buys tea from an Embu factory has constructed a library for the farmers' children. 

Zensho group of companies operate hotels in Japan and for which they buy tea leaves directly from Rukuriri Tea Factory in Embu East subcounty. It funded the construction and equipping of a library for the tea farmers’ children at Rukuriri Primary School at Sh800,000.  

Project coordinator, Joshua Kanake, who is also a director of the factory, said the companies last bought tea worth about Sh2 million from the factory. He said they built the library to appreciate the quality of the tea.

Kanake said the library was constructed through the Kenya Tea Development Authority Foundation as a Corporate Social Responsibility project.

Speaking while receiving the library and the books on Friday, Kanake and the factory’s management expressed gratitude for the gesture saying it will enhance the education of the pupils. 

He said by providing the books to the school, the Japanese were supplementing the government’s efforts of providing enough learning materials to improve the standard of education.

Kanake called on other international tea buyers to buy tea directly from the factory instead of purchasing it from Mombasa tea auction, promising that they will get the best tea quality.

“The money contributed by the companies was used diligently without misappropriation to the satisfaction of the donors,” Kanake said. 

Buying of tea directly is very beneficial to the buyer and the farmers, he said, arguing that the buyer gets the products according to his interest and the farmers benefit from better prices.

Kanake said it’s important for companies to fetch for direct tea buyers considering some of the major tea markets like Sudan and Southern Sudan have dwindled because of conflict and international sanctions placed on them.


He said farmers might not get as much profit in the 2018-19 season as they did in the last season owing to the reduction of rain but told them not to panic. 

Head of KTDA Foundation Sudi Matara said the books were to assist the pupils to develop a reading culture.

Matara said the foundation was gearing to help the growth of education with such projects.

He said currently, the foundation was paying school fees for over 6,000 students in various parts of the country.

Rukuriri Primary headteacher Kenneth Gitonga said the books will ease the burden of buying books as the government continues to supply schools with more.

(Edited by R.Wamochie)