Nandi County Agricultural Show and Trade Fair (held on 8th – 11th October 2014) at Kapsabet Show Ground was awakening call to leaders and residents of Nandi County plus setting up implemention strategies to revive the falling of our key wealth – Tea Farming and Production.
In realization of things going sour and tea farmers experiencing the lowest season of profits and bonus, as a result of KTDA munching millions of farmers money and making boardroom decisions, County government couldn’t stand and watch the tears of their farmers and others
rolling down their cheeks – and without wasting time – first Nandi County Agricultural Show and Trade Fair (at Kapsabet Show Ground) was quickly organized!
That was one good sign of empowerment. Attended by Deputy President William Ruto and Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei, both blamed the Kenya Tea Development Agency for the crisis in the tea sector.
Koskei was accompanied by Devolution CS Anne Waiguru and Environment CS Judy Wakhungu, as well as Livestock PS Fred Sigor. Nandi Governor Cleophas Lagat, who hosted the Show, welcomed the government’s intervention in the tea sector. He said tea farmers in Nandi have been demoralised to the extent that labourers on the farms were earning better pay per kilo than the owners of the farms.
Nandi County Governer Lagat said “We received the second-lowest payment, referred to as bonus, this year; that is why we pity the farmers, because they are unable to service their loans, placing the Saccos in financial crisis”.
The Following are10 awkward Facts About Falling Wealth in Nandi County!
1. KTDA gluttony and its monotony
A tough-speaking Koskei said the KTDA had unilaterally and without consultation with the farmers veered from its core mandate of marketing and managing tea to engage in unethical issues. He said KTDA was squarely to blame for the current poor prices that have threatened to bring down the sub-sector, the backbone of this county’s exports. The CS added that the agency had chosen to ignore the government’s technical advice, hence the current troubles.
“I have ordered a crisis meeting for Monday [the 13th Oct] to discuss the way forward and the steps to be taken to revamp the sector to be more vibrant, since it plays a key role in our economy,” Koskei said.
2. Dwindling International Prices
The international markets may be experiencing high supply and low demand following the current tea crisis. Competition is also another vital measure to think about since Kenya is not the only country exporting tea. There’s India among other exporters.
3. Too many brokers and cartels
Also known as middlemen in businesss language, too many of them results to little profits because they too need a dollar or two. Samples of various companies showed that farmers received bonuses as low as 7- 18ksh per kg a drop of 10- 20ksh per kg to previous!
We seem lazy and act slow to critical issues. That’s a characteristic that has been associated with us the Kalenjins. I pose to wonder, is it true? Our leaders drag their feet and lack the aggressive power to push things to obtain solutions. Representatives, on the other hand, like SACCOs, don’t work well for farmers. They concentrate so much on labour and supplies of farm equipment and forget to shout out to KTDA bosses to stop taking farmers for a ride. They too, are slowly fading into gluttony.
5. Quality and Quantity of Tea and Production, respectively
Many at times businesses have its slight share of ups and downs. If, and only if tea was of low quality and exported due to inadequate quantities (remember rain delayed this season and affected this sector), buyers may have decided to seek alternatives to keep themselves in the business. As a result, being left for alternatives will be hard to reclaim your position!
6. Government Taxes and Lack of Support
We never know certain things our national or even county government do. They can impose heavy taxes without the knowledge of the citizens. For example, VAT was said to be exempted on some basic items! It wasn’t! Government also is kind of biased in balancing country’s economic potential.
7. Exploitation by Local Tea Companies and Factories
Some companies exploit Nandi County tea farmers by setting up prices very low per kilo of tea to outgrowers, yet they reap twofolds out of the same kilogram, exceeding the producer’s profit by far. Currently a farmer earns 20-25 Shillings per kilo which is still low.
8. Lack of Value Addition
Preliminary tea products are not used to profit the farmers. This value addition profits only benefit factories and tea companies. Value added products like Mollasses are sold at an extra profit, profit that the farmer will not taste. Tea waste products and residues are profitable, but farmers lack proper mechanisms to delve into this business.
9. Poor Infrastructure
Tea is kind of delicate when subjected to higher temparatures. Some tea in tea shades that wait for collection and delivery to the respective factories sometimes delay, making tea discolour (or burnt), and therefore thrown away as a waste – into another heap of losses.
10. Title Deeds Conspiracy?
I think Title Deeds is an issue to consider here, because farmers are skeptical of expanding their tea business since land titles have not been received in larger part of the county. This encourages poverty in that residents worry about physical planning of lands or who will own where!
What’s your thoughts on this whole issue about Nandi County current wealth & status quo?
In the comment box below, click and type in your views and submit your comment. I’ll be glad to hear and discuss this with you ASAP!
NB:- Some tea companies had to convene an ad hoc meeting with farmers to explain to them the state of affairs before disbursing the bonuses.
Thanks to Deputy Govrernor Dominic Biwott Chepyagan for flying to sell Nandi County in United States of America – For possible investments and partnerships. His going to USA is to restore and upscale economic activities in the county is one reason that beats the above 10 signs of falling.
LET’S DISCUSS AND SUGGEST OTHER WAYS TO PROSPER NANDI.
Nandi Hills MP Hon Ketter seemed to have fired the first salvo at the multinational companies during a church function at Murguiwo on Sunday, when he told them to intervene and restore tea prices and engage in community development.
What Do You Think?
External Link : Parts of Nandi Hills (in pictures).