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Kenya partners with Liptons to improve quality of tea

The government is working with the largest marketing company of Kenyan tea globally to give tea farming the shot in the arm it deserves.

Making the announcement on Thursday, President William Ruto said the government has established a partnership with LIPTON Teas and Infusions aimed at improving the quality of Kenyan tea to meet global standards.

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The goal, he explained, is to increase farmers’ earnings and expand opportunities for Kenyans in the tea value chains and

He said the partnership will also ensure tea bought from Kenya is labelled as a Kenyan brand.

“I am glad that LIPTON has committed to support the development of a ‘Kenya Origin’ tea classification to guarantee farmers good returns,” he said.

He went on: “We have always wanted tea to pay more; we have always wanted a brand tea for Kenya globally. Now we have the opportunity to do so.”

President Ruto made the remarks on Thursday during the launch of the LIPTON Tea Innovation and Technology Academy at State House Nairobi.

The KSh500 million academy, which will be housed at the University of Kabianga, will help train farmers acquire modern skills in tea growing.

“The institution will work with TVETs to ensure we have skilled labour, extension services and capacity building for our farmers to produce quality tea that can fetch a premium price,” he said.

The President said the academy will be instrumental in reversing outdated tea farming practices that focus on quantity over quality.

He said the government is keen on ensuring farmers have the right information to produce the highest quality of tea in the world.

“It is time we use scientific and empirical evidence to tell our farmers what kind of tea will give them the best price,” he said.

Present were Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu, Lipton Teas CEO Nathalie Roos, Netherlands Deputy Ambassador to Kenya Joris van Bommel, Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot, Senator Alexander Mundigi (Embu) and MPs GG Kagombe (Gatundu South) and John Mukunji (Manyatta).

Machogu said the partnership between Lipton and the Kenyan government will help improve the quality of tea through training and enhance farmers’ earnings.

Gatundu South MP Gabriel Kagombe observed that there was a disconnect between the people who pick tea and those in the production value chain, a situation that has caused farmers to earn less from their produce.

“When we lift the tea industry we will get the high multiplier effect. This is one of the industries that will help us address unemployment in the country,” he said.

Ambassador Bommel noted that partnership in skills development, and education through collaboration with universities and the private sector will bolster the country’s human resources.

Roos said there was a need for farmers to embrace innovative farming practices to keep up with changing consumer tastes, global market volatility and climate change.

“Specialised training is essential to prepare the next generation of farmers, innovators, researchers and leaders to meet emerging challenges,” she added.

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