DECONGESTION

New KTDA directors want more factories in Bomet

Farmers losing thousands of kilograms of produce due to delays, failure to collect green leaf

In Summary
  • The waste of produce due to delays in collection dominated the discourse during campaigns for election in all zones within Bomet
  • Farmers from Singorwet said their biggest headache was poor collection, which forced them to reduce the number of days in a week they pick tea
An IEBC official assists a tea farmer to cast her vote on June 29, 2024.
An IEBC official assists a tea farmer to cast her vote on June 29, 2024.
Image: TEA BOARD OF KENYA/FB

Directors picked by farmers in the just concluded Kenya Tea Development Agency elections want two new factories built in Bomet county to decongest existing ones.

Rono Kipng'eno, who was elected to represent tea farmers in the Ndaraweta Zone and his Singorwet Zone counterpart Robert Rono, said the delays in the collection of green leaves was a concern.

Rono said farmers are losing thousands of kilograms of their produce due to delays and sometimes, failure to collect green leaf due to congestion in existing factories.

“We are facing increased production that is causing congestion in Tirgaga, Kapkoros and Motigo tea factories and we will ensure that at least two factories are set up soonest so that no produce goes to waste because of delays in collecting from buying centres,” he said.

He added that he will prioritise the push for setting up of new satellite factories.

Kipng'eno said previous plans to set up a factory in Kamogos of Chesoen and Tegat should be fast-tracked.

He said they will push and ensure money is allocated.

“Farmers should wait for good news. No produce will ever go to waste or farmers forced to stay overnight in buying centres while waiting for their green leaf to be collected,” Kipng'eno said.

The waste of produce due to delays in collection dominated the discourse during campaigns for election in all zones within Bomet. 

This saw some officials voted out.

Farmers from Singorwet said their biggest headache was poor collection, which forced them to reduce the number of days in a week they pick tea.

One of them is Alexander Rono. 

“Sadly, we are forced to pick tea twice a week because of weak policies by current management and we are demanding that the new directors take action so that we do not continue making losses,” he said.

David Ngeny from Tegat faulted previous directors for failing to push for an increase in the number of factories.

“We have directors who lost touch with what farmers go through and that is how we lost as farmers. We have made noise on the need for the number of factories so that they can meet the demand,” Ngeny said.

He said the late collection of tea leaves from buying centres lowers their quality, thus fetching low prices in markets.

“We know that quality processed tea fetches very high prices which is replicated to farmers' earnings and that is only possible when picked leaves are collected on time.” 

Simon Mutai, who was re-elected to represent Tegat Chemaner Zone said the concerns of farmers were a wake-up call.

Mutai said they would demand the two identified factories.

He asked farmers to embrace new clones of tea that are high-yielding to compel factories to meet their demands.

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