The government’s decision is aimed at cutting off unscrupulous middlemen who continue to exploit farmers and claim a major share of their profits.
Kenyan agriculture cabinet secretary Willy Bett said what tea producers currently endure at the Mombasa port is ‘exploitative and abusive’ and that the government would not let the unscrupulous middlemen have their way.
Speaking at the Kaptel SDA Church, Nandi County, the minister added, “The government has introduced several new measures to stamp out the exploitation of tea farmers and tea companies and now counties have been allowed to export the tea directly into the world market and seek those buyers who would buy it at high prices.”
Bett assured farmers that the government would not allow the tea industry to collapse.
“The tea industry generates billions of shillings annually towards boosting the Kenyan economy and action has already been taken to streamline the industry so that the millions of Kenyans, who rely on the sector for income, do not suffer,” he said.
Bett’s speech comes in the light of farmers in western Kenya threatening to quit tea farming and venture into alternative income generating means owing to falling prices and exploitation by middlemen.
The minister also announced that several other new measures, which would streamline the tea industry, would be announced this month.