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Economy

Hailstorms spoil tea party in Kericho

Farmers pick fresh tea leaves at a tea plantation in Kericho. FILE
Farmers pick fresh tea leaves at a tea plantation in Kericho. FILE 

Tea farmers in Kericho and Nandi have suffered huge losses following destruction of bushes by hailstorms.

For two months the farmers have not known peace when the storm hit the area consistently and they are braced for reduced volumes.

“The adverse weather continues to affect other tea growing zones also, such as the Aberdares,” said Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) senior agricultural manager Peter Mbadi.

According to a KTDA report, 12,890 kilogrammes of tea were lost in a single day in Ndarawetta, Singorwet, Mugango/Kiramwok zones last month.

Affected farmers could wait for up to three months for their tea bushes to regenerate before they can start picking the crop again. Mr Mbadi attributed the harsh weather patterns to climate change that has brought forth the fury of nature.

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In a pre-bonus report released by KTDA this week, small scale farmers will earn Sh69 billion from the tea collected in the year ending 2012/2013. Last year, they earned Sh61 billion.

KTDA chief executive officer Lerionka Tiampati attributed the higher incomes to increased volumes following sufficient rainfall.

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