Two members of parliament now want Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) disbanded for price fixing in various growing tea regions in the country after it announced Sh 16 billion cut in bonuses for the first time in six years. Mps Millie Odhiambo (Mbita) and Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills) said factories in the country should be independent and must have powers to auction and market their tea.
“We call upon the government to disband KTDA so that each and every factory can be independent and have the power to auction and market their tea.”
Addressing a news conference yesterday, the two mps claimed that out of the ten KTDA auctioneers, nine are from Mt. Kenya region and only one is from Western region, a move that has showed biasness in the pricing of tea from Western region.
According to Keter, bonus payments issued by KTDA show huge variances of up to KSh18 between the highest and lowest paid farmer in the two regions.
Mt. Kenya, he said carries the highest rate at KSh26.50 per kilo of tea as compared to KSh8.50 per kilo in Western Kenya.
“The differences are alleged to be so because of the quality of tea per kilo in two regions. However, it is hard to believe that you can have the entire Mt. Kenya producing the best quality of tea such that the lowest in Mt Kenya cannot be compared with the highest quality in the Western region,” he said.
Keter further regretted that while all the 34 factories in Central Kenya have full status, in Western region only 11 factories are satellites of 20 older ones.
Odhiambo said that it was regrettable that some of the areas were being favoured at the expense of others.