Enhanced Kenya Tea Brand to Boost Farmer Income

Kenya must develop a tea brand that will fetch the best prices for farmers, President William Ruto has said.

The President said Kenya’s tea should be branded to increase its visibility in the global market and labelling it with a mark of origin.

Saying Kenya’s tea industry is a significant contributor to the economy, the President pointed out that brand sustainability is very crucial in a competitive business environment.

Speaking at State House Nairobi when he met Kenya Tea Development Agency factory chairmen and directors on Tuesday, President Ruto expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, saying Kenya continues to sell unprocessed tea and denying farmers the best prices in the market.

“We are the largest tea producer in the world, yet we don’t have a Kenyan tea brand and, therefore, our product gets lower prices than countries that produce less than we do,” said President Ruto.

He told the leaders of tea factories to set up common user facilities and told them he expects the country to be exporting at least 60 per cent of processed and branded tea in between three and five years.

“Last year, we did away with taxes on packaging materials for tea. We, therefore, have to expand common user facilities and add value to our tea,” President Ruto said.

He added: “We cannot continue exporting our tea in sacks. In three years, we must export 60 per cent of value-added and branded tea. KTDA and the Tea Board of Kenya must work together in branding our tea.”

Responding to issues raised by the leaders, the President promised to operationalise the Tea Tribunal within three months.

President Ruto agreed with the leaders that tea factories which have invested in hydro- power stations must be paid for the power they sell Kenya Power and Lighting Company.

He also said the Kenya Forest Service and KTDA will sign an agreement through which tea factories will take part in the country’s 15 billion tree-planting programme, and also be able to harvest trees in various forests for their wood fule.

He said KTDA cannot continue to charge farmers a management fee of 2.5 per cent and directed that it be reduced to 1.5 per cent.

“We will meet here in three months to assess the progress in resolving all the issues you have raised,” he told the tea leaders.

The Head of State asked KTDA to hold free and fair elections, and emphasised that the government has no preferred candidates.

Present at the meeting were Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), Senator Kamau Murango (Kirinyaga) and MPs GG Kagombe (Gatundu South), Gitonga Mukunji (Manyatta), Brighton Yegon (Konoin) and Zaheer Jhanda (Nyaribari Chache), among others.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of President of the Republic of Kenya.

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