About 1,200 Kenyan families in Limuru, Kiambu County, plan to set up a factory dealing in specialty tea, in a move aimed at boosting farmers’ earnings from the crop.
The factory will be built at Ngarariga and its value-added tea products will be exported to Kenya's non-traditional markets including Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, and Tajikistan, according to the organisation representing the 1,200 residents.
"We will do value addition in line with the new Tea reforms backed by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya which promote value addition of Kenya tea products. He came to address us and we got inspired with the idea," Njoki Wainana the convenor of the Limuru Highlands Trust Information said.
"We are targeting non-traditional markets where there is a huge market for value-added tea," she added.
The Tea Act states that all tea buyers or exporters must value add at least forty percent of their annual Kenya tea exports within eight years of the commencement of the Act.
Ms Njoki did not provide the estimated cost of setting up the factory but explained the 1,200 families in the area's five zones namely Cianda, Riara Ridge, Kentmenre, Tigoni and Redhill will contribute funds for the setting of the factory in equal share.
The trust describes itself as a custodian of the 1,200 families "who are striving to turn the Limuru Highlands area into Garden Route” - a famed agricultural zone in South Africa.
Ms Njoki said the factory will target to source green leaf from willing farmers and players like the Nyayo Tea Zones Development Corporation among others.
"We are targeting firms with surplus tea. We see value addition as a sustainable way to earn from tea growing in the area," she said.