KENYA – The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), and tea traders in the country are pushing for the reconstitution of Tea Board of Kenya scrapped in 2014.
According to a report by Business Daily, the Managing director KTDA, Lerionka Tiampati, is seeking for the reconstitution of the board into the sector as an independent entity in a bid to boost the sector.
Speaking during a public hearing presentation on the Tea Bill 2018 to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Mr Tiampati said that the current Tea Directorate should revert to the old institution.
The agency also wants the tea regulator to be an independent entity unattached to the Agriculture and Food Authority.
“The Tea Board that was established under the repealed Tea Act was much more successful in delivering on its mandate of regulating and controlling the growing, manufacture, sales and export of tea,” said Mr Tiampati.
According to Mr Tiampati, this will also align the tea industry in the country with its other major global competitors such as India and Sri Lanka – who have powerful tea boards that regulate and foster the development of the crop in the countries.
The tea bill will also seeks for relocation of the Tea Board of Kenya’s headquarters from the country’s capital, Nairobi, to Kericho, a move that has however received opposition from KTDA.
“It is acknowledged that Nairobi is a central location in reference to the tea growing areas in the east and west of Rift and the tea trade auction centre is in Mombasa,” Mr Tiampati highlighted.
Additionally, the East African Tea Traders (Eatta), which manages the auction at the Mombasa Tea Auction, has also welcomed the move.
“The trends in the tea sector globally is to establish tea boards and not authorities. The Tea Board of Kenya is a brand that was recognised worldwide,” said managing director Eatta Edward Mudibo.
The Tea Board of Kenya was established in1950 with an aim of promoting Kenyan tea in domestic and international markets as well as regulating the industry through licensing and promoting competition in the sub-sector.
It was also mandated to carry out research on tea through its technical arm, the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya and register tea growers, buyers, brokers, packers, management agents and any other persons in the Tea value chain.