National Assembly finalizes report on tea sector findings

Written By: Eyob Mengistu Alemayehu/Ronald Owili
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The National Assembly's Committee on Delegated Legislation during the tour | Eyob Mengistu Alemayehu

The National Assembly’s Committee on Delegated Legislation will issue its conclusive report on tea sector reforms in a few weeks’ time after touring Kenya Tea Development Agency warehouses in Mombasa County.

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Speaking at the Chai Trading Limited which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of KTDA at Miritini plant, the committee’s chairman and MP for Tiaty Willy Kamket said it has visited all the major tea growing regions in the republic and interacted with key stakeholders.

”We have various views from farmers, small and big, and collected views on the entire sector from growing to the entire value chain and will be writing our report based on the regulations that have been presented before us all,” Kamket said.

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Chai Trading operates two warehouses in Mombasa with over 1 million square feet of space.

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Chai Trading Company warehouse at Miritini, Mombasa County |
Eyob Mengistu Alemayehu

The firm handles imports of machinery and other equipment as well as fertilizer for the smallholder farmers.

It is also a buyer member of the East Africa Tea Trade Association (EATTA) currently ranked amongst the top five buyers at the Mombasa Tea Auction.

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Committee members said farmers had expressed divergent views over the reforms being undertaken by the government to streamline the sector and make it more profitable to the farmer other than middlemen and other cartels.

Chai Trading Company Managing Director Charles Kibui (left) explains a point to the delegation | Eyob Mengistu Alemayehu

KTDA and agriculture ministry have been at war over Tea Regulations 2020 after the agency sought legal redress in an attempt to have Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya revoke the gazette notice appointing a special committee to steer reforms in the tea sector.

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Chai Trading Company Limited Managing Director, Dr. Charles Mbui said the firm is not against the regulations but urged for a collective approach in ironing out differences that have emerged over the proposed laws.

Dr. Mbui hinted out at reduced order from key markets due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Orders declined from Pakistan which on average buys about 160 million kilograms of tea, Egypt 100 million kilograms, and the UK at 63 million kilograms on account of the pandemic.

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