Tea farmers to earn less this year again



Tea farmers are likely to once again receive lower earnings in the year to June this year after exports reduced by 23 billion shillings.

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Agriculture and Food Authority-AFA attributed the reduced low earnings to increased supply of the green leaf caused by carryover stocks from previous years that saw a kilo of tea retail at 221 shillings at the auction, down from 258 shillings per kilo.

The Kenya Tea Development Agency has come under fire in recent years after reducing bonus pay-out year-in year out.

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This year things are not likely to be different with farmers staring at even lower earnings after tea prices dipped by 14 percent.

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In 2019, tea exports fetched 117 billion shillings down from 140 billion in 2018. The reduced margin according to the Agriculture and Food Authority was occasioned by lower auction prices due to a carryover stocks that caused a market glut.

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The glut reduced tea prices at the auction to 212 shillings per kilo in 2019 compared to 258 shillings in 2018.

Kenya exported 496.75 million kilo of green leaf to 70 export destinations up from 61 destinations the previous year with Pakistan taking the lion share of the total export volume importing 177 million kilograms of the green leaf.

However, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya attributes the reduced tea earnings to malpractices at the auction and is accusing KTDA officials of abetting in-trading.

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AFA has directed all tea factories to provide information on the monthly and final payments paid to growers to inform policy formulation before 7th next month.

The authority has also directed the factories to publish names of their growers and deregister non active growers by mid next month with farmers directed to sell their produce at factories within 50 km radius as the government cracks its whip on tea hawking.


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