KTDA to pay tea farmers Sh3bn in mini bonus


A woman picks tea leaves in Nyeri. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) will pay farmers a mini bonus of Sh3 billion starting next month to mark one of the highest payments to be made in the last five years.

Farmers in Embu, which is in the East of Rift region, will be the greatest beneficiaries, earning Sh10 a kilo, continuing their dominance as one of the best-paid growers in the country.

KTDA chairman David Ichoho said the money will be available to farmers in the first week of April pointing out that there was a logistical challenge that delayed its distribution this month as it had earlier been planned.

“The bonus will be paid together with the monthly payment of March ,” said Mr Ichoho.

Farmers in Murang’a will earn the second highest mini-bonus of Sh7 a kilo while factories in Kiambu will be paying Sh6 for the same quantity. Both Murang’a and Kiambu are in the East of Rift region which comprises counties in Mt Kenya zone.

Factories in the West of the rift will pay between Sh2 and Sh5 per kilo.

The payment of bonus has always been controversial with factories, especially those on the West of rift claiming of being shortchanged by the KTDA management.

The earnings in this region, which include Kericho, Bomet, Trans Nzoia, and Vihiga have always been lower compared with those in the East of the Rift.

Mr Ichoho said some factories had planned for the money to be released in May while others had slated for March.

“The board had to reach out to the factories board to agree on the actual time of release. Some factories had made resolutions as to when to release the mini bonus,” he said.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya defended the earnings that each region pays their farmers, pointing out that it is based on quality and efficiency.

“There have been a debate why factories from the east of rift earn more than the factories on the west, this is all based on efficiency and quality and has nothing to do with politics,” said Mr Munya.