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Tea production falls 30pc as drought bites

A tea estate: Climate effects that started in June last year have lowered tea production. PHOTO | FILE
A tea estate: Climate effects that started in June last year have lowered tea production. PHOTO | FILE 

Tea production in the country has decreased by 30 per cent in the last five months due to a prolonged dry spell, the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) has said.

KTDA chairman Peter Kanyago has said that although tea prices improved at the Mombasa auction, production at the farms has fallen due to changes in climate.

Speaking at Ragati Tea Factory during its Annual General Meeting in Mathira, Nyeri County, Mr Kanyago said farmers may receive reduced payments this year since crop production has been greatly affected.

He said the effects started in June last year which was the beginning of the current financial year.

Mr Kanyago also urged politicians to keep away from the tea industry saying politics should not interfere with the running of the agricultural sector.

Ragati Factory chairman Eustace Karanja said his factory is one of the most affected after experiencing a 40 per cent deficit in crop production since July last year.

Mr Karanja said the issue has led to laying off of some workers especially the casual labourers.

“We have also minimised the cost of operation due to lack of high production. The directors have also reduced their costs,” Mr Karanja said.

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