Kenya Union of Small Scale Tea Owners (KUSTO) in Tharaka Nithi has hailed the government’s reforms in the tea sector that has seen an increase in bonuses earned this year.
Speaking at a press briefing in Chuka town, KUSTO chairman Fredrick Nyakii said that they are happy with the bonuses received this year which is an increment from previous years.
The regulatory reforms have witnessed an increase of the bonuses earned by farmers from Sh. 21 per kilo to Sh.36.20 per kilo therefore increasing farmer’s value of their toil.
He applauded the new tea reforms set by the government saying they are gradually streamlining the industry.
“We as KUSTO are satisfied with the bonuses this year and would like to ask the government to increase the prices in the coming years so we can benefit more,” he said
Due to the key reforms pushed by the government, small scale farmers in the sub sector can now enjoy monthly payments in time without delays.
Furthermore, the chairman applauded the government for eradicating the delays in payments adding that they receive payments on time every month.
“The previous years we used to have delay in payments, months could go without pay but now we are able to enjoy payments by the fifth day of each month,” he said.
Nyakii said that the reforms set by Agriculture CS Peter Munya have enabled an increase in production at Weru Tea Factory leading to a profit increase of Sh. 57.7 per kg made by the factory.
He said that as members of KUSTO they are satisfied with the support from the government to streamline the industry and removal of cartels who have been ailing the sector and depriving them of their benefits.
Nyakii added that this has led to an increased boost in tea production and farmers are starting to reap maximum benefit from their produce.
He called upon the government to pass resolutions that distance themselves from an ongoing court case that is consuming much of their funds to enable the former directors to withdraw the case and allow the reforms to be fully implemented.
Elizabeth Mutegi, a farmer at Weru factory said that as small scale tea farmers they are a step forward with the increase in bonuses this year.
The farmer said that they are happy with the monthly payments which are paid on time enabling them to enjoy their produce.