KENYA – Dutch producer of tea and other herbal drinks, Ekaterra Tea Company, has resumed its operations in Bomet and Kericho counties, which were at the center of insecurity following the heightened invasion and destruction of property by residents forcing the processor to suspend operations.

Kenya Tea Growers Association Chairman Silas Njibwakale said the intervention by the State saw the company resume its operations, though it was still reeling from losses occasioned by destruction.

“For a week, Ekaterra has resumed full operations and we hope that there is not going to be interference,” the Tea Growers Chairman said.

“Ekaterra and Finlays are still facing theft of green leaf from their farms and we are hoping this will come to an end soon through processes that are ongoing.” He pleaded with the locals to treat the companies as their own and stop antagonizing them.

“We need to embrace dialogue and not to shy off investors and if there is any issue, we have to resolve it amicably and not the destruction of property and vandalism and that is why we have resolved to form a committee to look into the issues we disagreed,” Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot said.

“We hope that the committee will ensure that the machines that are at the center of the stalemate are dealt with and ensured that locals are prioritized and not machines.”

The committee looking into the matter is made up of members of the County Assembly, MPs, security, tea growers, and tea company officials.

Elsewhere, Nandi governor Stephen Sang wants a multi-national tea firm to hand over 350 acres to squatter’s land as ordered by the High Court.

Nairobi court on April 20, 2023, upheld the National Land Commission’s decision that 350 acres of land in Nandi-Hills legally belonged to the Kimasas community and should be handed back to them.

In 2018, the Kimasas community tabled their case before the National Lands Commission during a public hearing on “historical land injustices” at the AIC Bible College in Kapsabet town.

The community tabled ownership documents of the 350 acres of land they were claiming, among them survey maps, payments made to the Ministry of Lands for the processing of the farm, and letters dating back to the 1920s to prove their case.

The squatters were evicted from their ancestral homes at Kimasas village in 1996 by the then members of the provincial administration for the expansion of a tea plantation owned by Eastern Produce Kenya.

The multi-national firm, however, failed to prove ownership of the farm in question, although it planted tea and benefited from the proceeds for 27 years.

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