Lobby wants counties to ban tea plucking machines


Workers at a tea estate in Kericho. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A tea workers' union has focussed its fight against use of picking machines to the county governments, citing grave risks to the economy and families.

The Kenya Plantations and Agriculture Workers Union (KPAWU) is now supporting some devolved units as they implement laws banning their use saying thousands of jobs have already been lost.

Nandi Hills County recently hinted at creating laws that will tax the machines to dissuade their use.

Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony has also been commended by the lobby for pushing for implementation of a law banning the machines’ use.

"They should be banned until when living standards in Kenya have improved. Kericho and other towns whose economies rely on tea farming will become ghost towns since circulation of money will reduce," KPAWU Deputy Secretary General Thomas Kipkemboi said.

There is an ongoing court case after the Eastern Produce Kenya Company fired over 3,000 tea pluckers.

Its plantations have since been taken over by machines.

READ: Levy row brewing over tea plucking machines