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Editorials

EDITORIAL: It’s time to ban tea hawking

Many people depend on tea crop and the State must effectively regulate to help farmers get reward for their hard work
Many people depend on tea crop and the State must effectively regulate to help farmers get reward for their hard work. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Tea Bill 2018 amendments that impose stiff penalties on factories buying tea from unregistered growers is a welcome intervention.

Cases of theft of crops in farms and sharp price variations are becoming rampant and it is only better that suppliers of the green leaf be registered and selling done well.

The National Assembly must take cue from the Senate and pass the amendments which introduce a Sh10 million fine, a 10-year jail term or both to factories entertaining tea hawking.

The penalty will serve as a deterrent to the exercise and help save the tea sector from decline as has been witnessed with crops such as coffee.

Theft of tea leaves through break-ins at factories and illegal plucking are some of the biggest challenges facing the sector and come at a huge cost to farmers.

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Many brokers are also riding on stolen tea to sell at low prices, rendering genuine farmers uncompetitive.

Factories can easily suffocate such an illegal market by only accepting tea from registered sources.

Many people depend on this crop and the State must effectively regulate to help farmers get reward for their hard work. Authorities must also find a way of helping genuine small-scale farmers to get registered and access factories without being exploited by brokers.

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