New KTDA board to pay tea farmers mini-bonus in July


Women pick tea leaves at a farm. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The new Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) board says it will pay a mini-bonus to farmers at the beginning of next month.

The move, which comes hardly a week after the new board took office, is a blow to the outgoing board that has opposed the takeover and insisted that they are the rightful custodians of the agency.

New KTDA chairman David Ichocho said the agency would pay a mini-bonus of between Sh2 and Sh5 a kilo to farmers in the factories that have already declared. The main bonus will be paid in October.

“We have managed to change the signatories of KTDA accounts, and we can now make key financial decisions such as payment of mini-bonus to farmers, which we are starting soon,” he said.

Mr Ichocho also said the board had appointed five more officials in acting capacity to replace those who had been suspended to pave the way for investigations into their conduct in running of the agency.

The board on Monday also suspended a long-serving chief executive Lerionka Tiampati who has been sent on compulsory leave.

Other members who have been sent on leave include the company secretary John Omanga, managing director Alfred Njagi, finance and strategy director Benson Ngari and David Mbugua, general manager ICT.

The outgoing board dismissed the decision of Mr Ichocho on Tuesday, saying they did not have the mandate to undertake any function at the agency.

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Mr Ichocho said all cases that are currently in court, which had been instigated by the outgoing board in opposition to the new reforms in the sector, would be discontinued.

“All cases that have been filed by the company or the tea factory against the Crops Tea Industry Regulations, 2020 and the Tea Act, 2021, will be discontinued with immediate effect,” he said.

He said the company would support the full implementation of the Tea Act 2020 and will no longer pursue avenues that are against the interest of over 600,000 small-scale holders affiliated with the agency.