Tea farmers affiliated to Kenya Tea Development Agency ( KTDA) are set to benefit from cheaper loans after Greenland Fedha, a non-deposit taking micro finance institution, reduces interest rates from 21 to 8 per cent by December.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Peter Munya said high interest rates on loans had impoverished farmers, adding that the government will take measures to lower the rates to five per cent to comply with the agricultural policy.
He said that high production and transport cost was hurting farmers and challenged managers of the factories to reduce unnecessary costs to boost farmers’ earnings.
“The government transports tea from factories to Mombasa using the Standard Gauge Railway and has reduced the cost compared to hauling them by lorries” Munya said.
This, he added, enables tea to be sold immediately to avoid unnecessary expenses on storage at Warehouse.
Munya spoke at Itumbe and Ogembo tea factories in Kisii County after sensitizing farmers on reforms in the tea sub-sector.
Higher bonus The CS said farmers are poised to earn higher bonus next year following reforms in the sector initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta in January, adding that cartels who exploited farmers have been weeded out.
He advised the County government and the agency to offer extension services to help raise quality of green tea leaves so as to fetch high prices and boost farmers’ earnings.
Munya asked managers of factories in West of Rift Valley to strive to lower production costs, saying the cost of processing a kilogramme of green tea leaves in the region was higher compared to other areas.