KENYA – The board of Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) is expected to approve small-scale farmers’ monthly pay of between Sh20 and Sh25 a kilo in February 2019 as a move to curb tea hawking which has cut off supplies to the Agency.
This will come as a relief to growers who have for many years received Sh15 per kilo as initial payment for their produce.
However, the price will vary between factories as it will be based on a number of factors including production efficiencies, reports Business Daily.
The agency seems to have bowed to pressure from growers who have for long been demanding for a review, threatening to abandon the company.
KTDA farmers are paid at the end of every month in what is referred to as initial payment while the second payment or bonus is made at the end of every financial year.
Small-scale farmers were paid Sh85.74 billion in the year to June, up from Sh78.31 billion a year earlier on the back of increased production representing 9.4% growth.
A kilogramme of green leaf fetched an average of Sh52.51 in the last season, having dropped from Sh58.61 in 2017.
KTDA launches smart card to improve efficiency
The KTDA has launched a smart card for farmers to curb theft and weight falsification as it promotes transparency in factories.
The plans will issue 560,000 growers with cards synced with their mobile phones to authorise sale and purchase of tea.
The agency said the card provides growers with a secure way of storing data that can be retrieved at any point which includes the farmer, grower’s number and centre where one delivers their produce.
Growers will produce the card, which is connected to the factory’s electronic weighing system, upon delivery of produce which will store the farmer’s data on daily and monthly basis.
“The use of a smart card in weighing tea leaves is very secure, we have managed to increase efficiency. We will be taking less time for the tea to get to the factory and process it within a short period of time,” said John Gitau, manager at Makomboki Tea Factory.
“We will know the exact volume of tea that a farmer has delivered meaning we pay farmers for the exact amount they bring to the factory without overpaying or underpaying,” he added.
With the card, the agency said it will be able to safely collect, secure and transmit tea and track performance of all the 65 factories it manages.