Commodities

Munya now mulls licensing Coffee auction to trade tea

munya

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya will license Nairobi Coffee Exchange to trade in tea if the Mombasa Auction does not go online in the next one month.
  • The move comes at a time when the ministry has directed both the coffee and tea auctions to change from manual to electronic platforms to encourage efficiency and transparency, with the former having shifted to online trading already.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya will license Nairobi Coffee Exchange to trade in tea if the Mombasa Auction does not go online in the next one month.

The move comes at a time when the ministry has directed both the coffee and tea auctions to change from manual to electronic platforms to encourage efficiency and transparency, with the former having shifted to online trading already.

“Within one month, if Mombasa auction does not go electronic, the government will allow Nairobi Coffee Exchange and other players to trade tea,” said Mr Munya Thursday.

The CS pronouncement comes a fortnight after President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Tea Act, 2020, which is aimed at regulating, developing and promoting the industry.

One of the provisions in the Act mandates the establishment of an electronic trading platform for tea auction that will be useable and accessible to all players in the value chain.

“The regulator will be undertaking inspections to assess compliance of the tea value chain players, particularly on the provisions on electronic trading and effecting payments,” he said.

The sector lobby, the East Africa Tea Trade Association (Eatta) said plans are afoot to automate the auction after trial runs in the last couple of months.

“We have been conduction electronic auction for some months now and we are ready to officially launch the platform,” said Eatta managing director Edward Mudibo.

Mr Munya said the ministry had embarked on development of the regulations to operationalise the Tea Act.

He also hinted that the Tea Board of Kenya will be in place by April as the election of directors is expected to be completed by March.

“We intend to move with speed towards actualising the reforms, particularly with regard to according farmers the opportunity to undertake elections for their representatives in the tea factory limited companies and in the Tea Board of Kenya,” said the CS.

Stakeholders have praised the return of the Tea Board of Kenya and the Tea Research Foundation, saying it will work towards addressing the challenges that the sector has faced.