• Munya said the tea sector was almost going down but with the reforms in place, tea farmers will enjoy the fruits of the crop.
• He assured the farmers that the mess at the tea factories will be cleared soon as the ministry has dispatched a team of auditors to carry out forensic audit on the various factories accounts.
Agriculture CS Peter Munya and Nyamira Senator Okong'o Omogeni have vowed to step up efforts in the tea sector for the better of the farmers.
The duo spoke on Thursday at Kebirigo tea factory when they addressed tea farmers on the reforms in the tea sector.
Munya said the tea sector was almost going down but with the reforms in place, tea farmers will enjoy the fruits of the crop.
"As government, we want to deal with any form of unnecessary losses in the name of raising revenue for farmers from thieves within the sector. Most of them have been feeding on farmers sweat but all this must end," Munya said.
On tea buying centres, Munya said the tea buying centres will be required to use digital weighing machines in place of the currently used manual machines, saying the manual ones are being used to exploit farmers.
"We are going to ensure that the tea collection process at the tea buying centres down here is digital because we have realised the machines used currently are exploiting our farmers. Some people are eating our farmers' sweat," Munya said.
He further assured the farmers that the mess at the tea factories will be cleared soon as the ministry has dispatched a team of auditors to carry out forensic audit on the various factories accounts in the move to clean up the spoils by the immediate factory management.
"We are starting the process of auditing all the factories in Kenya. All the losses must be traced and action taken appropriately. Every factory must be audited and we are not going back, because we want to bring back the smile to our farmers," the CS noted.
On farmers' health, Munya said the current 'Kinga ya Mkulima' health cover that is currently being used by tea farmers will be reconsidered for NHIF so that farmers do not have to pay for both.
"We need to have one health scheme for our farmers for we do not want our farmers to pay for the Kinga ya Mkulima scheme and also to the NHIF which is much costly to the farmers. That is part of the reforms we are making slowly," Munya said.
On his side, Nyamira Senator Okong'o Omogeni said the reforms in the tea sector will go a long way in ensuring farmers enjoy the fruits of their labour.
"As leaders we have decided to stand with our farmers with the tea reforms in place to ensure the tea sector gets back to its glory. We want our our farmers to enjoy working on their farms without having fear of being exploited," Omogeni said.
Omogeni said he will do everything possible in supporting the reforms for the better of the farmers who are being exploited by cartels.
"Despite everything, we have marked our feet on the ground in ensuring farmers get what is due. Nothing will scare us. Our farmers need to know we are fully behind them," Omogeni said.