Rail to transport tea to Mombasa
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.
“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 .