Farmers Benefit from Increased Tea Earnings
Despite a high supply of green leaf dampening returns for a kilogram of tea, farmers were set up for higher earnings after returns rose by 9.4 % last season to heat Sh85.74 billion.
While marking the third consecutive year of improved tea earning, farmers are set to benefit from improved production in spite of lower price per kilogram of green leaf delivered. This stood at an average rate of Sh52.51, a drop from Sh58.61 earned last year.
According to the Kenya Tea Development Agency, the drop-in price per kilogram was occasioned by depressed prices and soaring costs of production during the ending quarter of the financial year.
Due to this, the over 600,000 tea farmers took home a total of Sh62.35 billion, Sh 6.91 billion higher than what they received in the year to June 2017.
“The increased earnings this year were due to high volumes of green leaf produced by farmers as a result of improved rainfall and stable tea prices,” KTDA group chief executive Lerionka Tiampati said.
Tea factories managed by the agency received a total of 1.18 billion kilograms of green leaf, 42 million kilograms more than the number realized during the same period last year. Of these, farmers are paid Sh15 per kilogram of their monthly deliveries while the rest is paid as second payment after the end of the financial year.
KTDA, however, noted that its factories are still grappling with many challenges that include tea hawking as well as high cost of labor and energy.
As part of the measures to mitigate these challenges, factories have resorted to small hydropower investment that will deliver affordable power. The factories have also established wood plantations that are expected to provide long-term sources of fuel.
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