Addis Ababa, in a significant development for smallholder tea farmers in Kenya, the Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited (KTDA) has announced an increase in monthly payments for every kilogram of green leaf delivered to the agency’s factories. Michael Ngatia, Zone 4 KTDA Director, revealed the plans during the Annual General Meetings for tea factories in Nyeri, held at the Iria-ini tea factory in Othaya.
According to Kenya News Agency, Ngatia informed the farmers that the monthly payment rate is set to rise from Sh21 to Sh25 per kilogram of green leaf. “The new rates, which mark a significant increase for our farmers, will be officially announced by the national chairman at the AGM in Nairobi in mid-December,” he said.
This announcement follows a record-high bonus payout of Sh44.15 billion to tea farmers three months ago. Coupled with the Sh23.55 billion monthly pay for green leaf supplied to KTDA’s 54 factories, the total earnings for the financial year ending June 30, 2023, amounted to Sh67.7 billion. The average earning for each of the 600,000 farmers was Sh59 per kilogram of tea sold. The impressive financial performance was credited to favorable tea prices in the international market, a favorable foreign exchange regime, and increased sales of orthodox tea.
Ngatia explained that the increased monthly rates are part of several initiatives KTDA is implementing to encourage tea growers to boost production. Among these is the accelerated installation of an Orthodox tea production line at the Iria-ini factory, aimed at insulating farmers from market fluctuations associated with traditional CTC (Crush, Tear, Curl) tea. In the last financial year, KTDA sold 10 million kilograms of orthodox tea, significantly enhancing farmers’ earnings.
“The global landscape of tea growing is evolving with new entrants like Vietnam and Argentina. To stay competitive, we must focus on the quality of our tea. The adoption of orthodox processing and ensuring high-quality picking are crucial for better returns,” Ngatia emphasized.
The initiatives reflect KTDA’s commitment to supporting Kenyan tea farmers, enhancing their livelihoods, and maintaining Kenya’s position as a leading tea producer on the global stage.