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Tea farmers to incur losses due to political unrest

15 January 2014, 20:41 Joseph Njung’eh

Nyeri - The crisis in South Sudan, Egypt, Iran and Pakistan has affected the Kenyan tea market abroad, Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) national chairman, Peter Kanyago said Tuesday, warning that tea farmers will incur loss due to the unrest.

He said some countries experiencing unrest are the major exporters of the Kenyan tea and the situation is demanding redress to save the economy.

Speaking in Tetu during Gathuthi Tea Factory Annual General Meeting with local farmers, Kanyago said tea farmers should benefit from subsidized fertilizer and other inputs like maize and coffee farmers.

During the 37th annual meeting attended by more than 500 farmers, audited accounts and financial statements of the year 2013 were tabled to farmers.

According to him, maize farmers are highly favoured by the national government with regard to inputs while forgetting the tea sector which is among the major foreign exchange earning crops in the country.

Kanyago revealed that he visited the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Agriculture, Felix Koskei to deliberate on the issue but the CS declined to respond on the issue.

However, he said that KTDA board of directors will soon have a sitting with the President to discuss the matter.

Kanyago asked the government to exempt tea from the Value Added Tax (VAT) stating that tea is like any other foodstuff which is not taxable.

He decried the soaring prices of Kenyan tea as compared with tea from other countries, which he attributed to tax and urged the government to free it and also fund the Tea Research Foundation.

The chairman further explained that tea prices went down last year, between June and January 2014, due to high production from all factories but exuded confidence that the prices will stabilize.

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