The Star (Nairobi)

14 January 2013

Kenya: Kones' Pledge for Tea Sector

Konoin MP Julius Kones has pledged to revolutionise the tea sector for the benefit of small-scale farmers in Bomet County if elected governor.

Kones said if tea auctions are set up across the county, farmers would benefit from their crop once county governments take effect after March 4 General Election.

He said auctions will lead to direct links with local and international markets and ensure job creation.

Speaking in Bomet stadium over the weekend during the of launch of his manifesto, Kones who is aspiring for Bomet governor's seat on a URP ticket, said tea auction in Mombasa only benefits agents and transporters instead of farmers.

South Rift comprises two counties that are prime producers and exporters of Kenyan tea on small-scale basis along with multi-national corporations and private companies that run large tracts of tea estates. Most farmers supply tea to factories run by Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), while others sell their crop to private firms.

The sector employs thousands of pickers, some drawn from as far as Nyanza and Western provinces. Kones said creating autonomy in branding and marketing of tea would help maintain product quality and curb frequent price fluctuations.

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