Kenya, Africa’s largest black tea producer, has been challenged by its president to ensure that the revenue of tea farmers is increased significantly. According to President Uhuru Kenyatta, tea growers would gain the most payback from their hard labour if they added more value to the tea they produced, instead of selling it raw.
Kenyatta has ordered the Kenya Tea Development Agency Holdings (KTDA) to come up with a comprehensive plan and asked the agricultural ministry to lend its full support.
Kenya is the No 1 producer of tea in Africa and ranks as the fourth biggest producing nation after Ceylon (Sri Lanka), India and China. In Kenya, the tea industry plays a significant role in rural development, poverty reduction and food security.
“The real future for tea is value adding 90% of our tea and finding direct markets from the farm to the one consuming the tea in a cup. That will be the long-term solution and that solution lies with you to set the foundation,” Kenyatta said addressing directors of the smallholder sub-sector.
Importance of value addition
In an article published on Food For Afrika.com, Kenyatta explains why he believes value addition will help increase employment opportunities for young people in the country.
He says that as a result of the government-initiated changes, the profits of smallholder tea farmers grew by 42.4%, from Sh44 billion in 2021 to Sh63 billion in 2022.
“This is approximately an additional Sh18.74 billion that will be paid to farmers courtesy of the interventions we, as a government, made to revitalise this sub-sector.”
Revitalising the tea sector
With this performance, the average bonus payment per kilogram of green leaf in 2022 will rise by 76% from Sh21.07 earned last year to Sh37.11 in 2022, Kenyatta says.
In the article, he unpacks what a stronger performance in the subsector will mean for the broader agricultural sector. As well as how ongoing reforms, once fully implemented, will revitalise the tea sector for the benefit of farmers and the country.
Click here to read the full article.
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