Rail to transport tea to Mombasa

CS Peter of Agriculture  (centre ) is gifted by senior staffers of the Ndima tea factory  after he held a meeting with  the local farmers and briefed  them on the progress status of the ongoing radical reforms in the tea sector yesterday.

Tea  from Mt Kenya region will from now hence forth be  transported from Nairobi to  Mombasa by the SGR in an effort to reduce  avoidable  post production losses .

Agriculture CS Peter Munya said were it not for the incompatibility of the old railway system with the SGR , the commodity would have been transported to the Mombasa auction from Sagana in Kirinyaga County very cheaply.

Agriculture CS Peter Munya addressing tea farmers at Ndima tea fairy in Kirinyaga County yesterday where he briefed  them on the progress of the ongoing reforms in the sector

“We are trying our best to kick out all the cartels which had infiltrated the tea sector in all forms especially transport from upcountry to the auction in Mombasa , “Munya told farmers at Ndima tea factory in Kirinyaga County yesterday .

He said the tea  would be first  stored in the  large disused  KPCU go downs in Nairobi from  where it will later be loaded into the SGR and transported to the Mombasa Auction

The factory serves farmers from both Mathira and   Kirinyaga since it lies on the boarder of the two tea catchment areas  hence   its name Ndima (ndia and Mathira ).

The CS said due to the said railway network incompatibility, the commodity  from the region will continue to be transported to Nairobi by road  from where the tea would be loaded into the SGR and taken to the Mombasa auction .

“This will   still be a cheaper option when compared to the old arrangement   where  the commodity has been transported from the respective factories by road to Mombasa,”Munya  maintained.

A section of farmers from Ndima tea factory attentively listening to the Agriculture CS Peter Munya when he visited them yesterday for an update on the ongoing reforms in the tea sector.

Munya who was accompanied by the new KTDA Board  chairman David Ichoho and directors from the Zone Five asked farmers  to be patient as the rot that had persisted for many years got cleaned up for them to start reaping benefits from their crop .

“If you have been sick  for a long  time , even if you are put on treatment you cannot be healed  in one day. You have  to continue being on medication  and start healing gradually  and this is how  the tea sector  is at the moment ,”Munya told the  farmers .

He accused the ousted  KTDA Board of having  been on a looting mission by ensuring the  prices of the commodity had sank to   a low of a dollar and 70 cents in the last five consecutive years leaving the farmers completely impoverished .

“But after embarking on a cleanup mission  and  putting on stringent measures  within  the last few months we are now headed to 3.33 dollars per kilogram of processed tea towards the end of this month and this is scheduled to continue improving for better ,”Munya assured  the farmers .

The no nonsense CS defended the current KTDA board  from  claims  that it was responsible for the low bonus payment  and reminded  the critics the new officials only took office only a while ago .

He promised the farmers of a boom next year from a bonus as had been the case before and also announced that the government had pumped Sh 1 billion to cushion the high cost of fertilisers which stands  at Sh 3,200 per 50 kg bag  to Sh 2,500.

The CS further assured  the farmers heads will start rolling at the  KTDA headquarters   after  the DCI takes to court the  former Board members  said to have systematically looted from the farmers proceeds.

He said forensic audits will also cascade from the KTDA headquarters to all the 64 factories and where those found to have been culpable will be arrested and prosecuted .

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