KENYA – The Kenya Tea and Development Agency (KTDA), which runs over 60 Tea processing factories in the country, has resolved to increase pay-outs to farmers in selected regions as part of the efforts to boost supply.

KTDA national chairman Peter Kanyago said the agency resolved to pay farmers between Sh17 and Sh18 per kilo of green leaf starting July following a consultative meeting with the Agriculture ministry.

 “We have conducted a survey of payment to farmers through the directors of their factories combined with one by the ministry and agreed on a price review that is best beneficial to the farmers,” he said.

Peter, who was speaking in during a meeting at Ragati Tea Factory in Central Kenya, said that the move is part of the agency’s effort to increase supply to the factories by discouraging leaf hawking which has in the recent past recorded an uptick.

“The decision to increase the payments is to avoid a split in the sale of the leaves where farmers are opting to sell their produce to hawkers,” said Mr Kanyago.

Last year, the agency lost US$6.8 million (Sh680 million) to tea hawking in Mt Kenya region factories.

Farmers in Murang’a North, Nyamira, Kisii, Nandi, Transzoia, Vihiga and Kakamega will receive Sh17 for their produce while those in Bomet and Kericho will receive Sh18 per kilo of green leaf, reports Business Daily.

The chairman further said that they were still consulting for farmers in Kirinyaga County while those in Kiambu, Murang’a South, Nyeri, Embu and Meru would continue getting Sh16.

Last year, small-scale tea farmers were paid a total of US$857.4 million (Sh85.74 billion) in the year to end June, up from US$783.1 million( Sh78.31 billion) a year earlier on the back of increased production.

A kilogramme of green leaf fetched an average of US$0.52 (Sh52.51) in the last season, having dropped from US$0.58 (Sh58.61) in 2017.

The agency has also announced a partnership with Rainforest Alliance to catalyse renewable energy transition by providing smallholder tea farmers in the country with renewable energy solutions.

The 18 months project will be rolled out across 12 factories across the country – with each chosen to represent one of the 12 KTDA administrative zones.

It will also focus on sensitizing farmers on alternative sources of energy such as biomass, solar and improved energy-saving cooking stoves with an aim of conserving the environment.