KENYA – The new Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) Board Chairman Peter Weru Kinyua has stated that the operationalization of the Tea Research Foundation is being hampered by the cases in court by people opposed to the Tea Act of 2020.

The Act establishes the Tea Research Foundation in the industry to promote, co-ordinate and regulate research in tea and tea diseases; expedite equitable access to research information, resources, and technology, and promote the application of research findings and technology in the development of tea.

“It will be very key that this Tea Research Foundation is established, and we have got all the necessary documentation that could make it work and then funding follows so that we give value to farmers of this country,” Kinyua said.

Regarding issues to do with funding the Foundation, he added that the issue of funding also touches on the entire KALRO saying for the last 10 years the organization just receives funds for salaries which also depends on the donor funds.

Kinyua, however, emphasized the importance of having it established first and then dealing with the issue of funding later.

He spoke of the development during the Tea Reforms Conference held in Kericho and coordinated by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

The Deputy President is overseeing the full implementation of proposals by tea farmers to strengthen the sector as the government rolls out comprehensive reforms to turn it around.

Gachagua promised immediate implementation of the Tea Act, 2020 to ensure reforms spelled out in the law are back on track after being frustrated by the previous government.

“The Act is comprehensive and can help our farmers earn better. Even as we make the amendments, we will enforce the Act because if it had been implemented as effected, we would have already dealt with the challenges halfway and we would now be dealing with the remaining part right,” said the DP.

“I give an undertaking that the reforms we are going to agree on, our two Houses of Parliament where we have the majority members will pass the needed amendments into law and thereafter, we will ensure 100% compliance with the law. This is part of our Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda,” said the DP.

Despite Kenya producing distinct flavors of tea, Gachagua said marketing of the products does not take care of farmers’ interests, leaving them with the least earning in the value chain.

He explained that the pyramid is inverted against the farmer as the tea farmer has no power to determine the price, yet this is a much-sought commodity across the globe even when sold raw.

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