The national government is working towards increasing tea production in the country, Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi has said.

Govt. to support tea farmers to improve productivity

According to Linturi, last year, the production of green leaves was not good because Kenya suffered drought and the depreciation of Kenya’s exchange currency.

Linturi said that the government is working towards ensuring that tea farmers get enough fertilizers to help in their productivity.

“I want to call upon farmers to go for the fertilizers so that they can put on the tea leaves because we want to boost our production this year,”

“We want to ensure that this year we can increase the production and productivity and that is why we are saying that there is a need to double the application of fertilizers in our farms because there is a correlation between the productivity and the application of fertilizers,” he said.

He said in the last tea payment, they were able to do a net payout of around Sh44.4 billion which is an increase of around Sh8 billion from last year.

He urged farmers to double their efforts this year by applying for more fertilizers to get more green leaves from the small farms.

“I expect this year, going by the current trend, we will be able to produce more kilos of green leaves and also the trend as it is now, we will be able to deliver more earnings and better prices for farmers,” he said.

The CS said that despite the depreciating Kenya shilling, the government will support the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) and farmers so that they get fertilizer at affordable prices.

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He said that Tea farming is very important because it contributes a high per cent to the country’s GDP in the farming sector.

He spoke at the Kenya Ports Authority in Mombasa where he came to flag off the offloading of 92,737 tons of fertilizer which was bought by KTDA directly from Russia.

The CS said that the government is currently working on tea reforms which will soon help in coming up with the legal policy and administrative mechanism so that farmers have the best out of what they do.

“KTDA-managed factories directly support the livelihoods of more than 650,000 families in this country therefore, this is not a sector that you can play around,” he said.

He said as a government, they are working with the leadership of KTDA, counties and national governments to be able to provide resources to add value for tea so that farmers can sell finished products.

“We are working hard as a government and that is why we are asking the good people of this country for us to be self-reliant and be able to finance our issues as a country. People should pay taxes because it is out of tax collection that we can finance ourselves,” he said.

“When we collect enough revenue, we have a priority which is to support KTDA factories to install processing lines that will be able to produce orthodox tea. Orthodox tea also fetches high premium prices and for us to get there, we must invest in orthodox lines across the country.”

He called upon the KTDA to ensure that the distribution of the other batch came on time.

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He said that the country is doing well in maize farming and that farmers are performing better.

“We are prepared to give them the necessary support, a time has come when we must produce for ourselves, we must get ourselves out of this shame of relying on relief food because Kenya is one of the countries that is properly endowed by good sources,” he said.

“We have the best technical officers that can give us support and that is why we are bringing the governments and everyone else to get aligned so that we work together.”

by AURA RUTH

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