Boom for farmers as tea earnings rise

Farmers pick tea at a farm in Karingani ward in Chuka/Igambang'ombe constituency, Tharaka Nithi County. 

Photo credit: Alex Njeru I Nation Media Group

Farmers from Kericho and Bomet will pocket the highest bonus payments as tea earnings increased by 42 per cent to Sh62.89 billion.

Total earnings for the period July 2021 to June 2022 rose by Sh18.74 billion to Sh62.89 billion up from Sh44.15 billion in the 2020/21 financial year.

The average total earnings per kilo of green leaf is Sh50.9 compared to Sh34.71 in the previous year to June 2021, representing a 44.6 per cent growth.

Farmers from Kericho and Bomet (region 5) will receive the highest bonus of Sh15.27 billion followed by Kiambu and Murang’a (region 1) who will pocket Sh13.19 billion.

Kirinyaga and Embu (region 3) will receive Sh8.97 billion, Meru and Tharaka-Nithi (region 4) will get Sh8.46 billion, Murang’a and Nyeri (region 2) will pocket Sh8.3 billion while Kisii and Nyamira (region 6) will earn Sh6.94 billion.

Nandi, Trans Nzoia and Kakamega (region 7) will pocket Sh1.76 billion bonus.

Smallholder tea farmers in Nyeri County are expected to earn Sh600 million as part of Sh38.92 billion bonus windfall allocated for Central Kenya.

KTDA Company Secretary Patrick Ngunjiri yesterday said the majority of tea factories in the county had doubled their bonus payments compared to last year.

Payment for the main bonus will be made by July 8, which is in accordance with the tea reforms introduced in the Tea Act, 2020.

At Gathuthi Tea Factory, farmers will receive Sh40 for a kilogramme of green leaf compared to Sh20 that was paid in the previous financial year.

Farmers affiliated to Gitugi Tea Factory will receive Sh41 per kilogramme compared to last year’s Sh25.

At Iriaini Tea Factory, the bonus payment stood at Sh17 per kilogramme last year but they will now earn Sh34 per kilogramme. At Chinga Tea Factory, the farmers will receive Sh33 per kilogramme up from Sh19 recorded last year.

Growers affiliated to Ragati Tea Factory will receive Sh31 per kilogramme, compared to last year’s Sh17.

“The rate of bonus that is expected has already been released and it will immensely boost our tea farmers.

“These reforms have resulted in an increment of Sh600 million in Othaya for tea farmers,” Mr Ngunjiri said.

“We have good news for the 650,000 tea farmers in Kenya. We have started witnessing better yields that are resulting in major reforms in the sector that were started by the government since 2020.

“We have continued implementing reforms in the tea sector,” he added.

Recently, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said this year’s bonus is expected to be the highest across the tea growing counties since 2016.

In the current financial year, 2022/2023, the government has budgeted for distribution of a fertiliser subsidy for tea farmers to lower the cost of production.

Mr Munya said KTDA was engaging tea brokers to reduce brokerage and management agency fees, which are expected to save tea farmers more than Sh1 billion annually and will result in more earnings for tea growers.