14 January 2013

Kenya: Tea Farmers Furious Over China Firm 'Ruining Roads'

Hundreds of tea farmers from Kangema are up in arms against a Chinese water company that they say is destroying their roads. Yesterday, furious farmers waving twigs and placards held day long demonstrations that ended at the company's site where they handed officials a letter.

In the letter, the farmers drawn from 11 tea buying centres demanded that the company, Synohydro, undertakes road repairs immediately.

"This company has made our roads impassable after dumping soil on the roads as they lay their pipes. As a result, we have incurred heavy losses after our tear withered since KTDA trucks stall on the road and are unable to collect the produce in time" the letter read in part.

They declined the company's proposal that the roads would be done upon completion of the water project saying "you cannot solve one problem by creating another."

Also present was Kangema roads officer Nahason Kiragu who said Tana water services board is the one that contracted the company to undertake the project and as such are responsible for the roads.

He said though the board's CEO MM Naivasha has pledged to meet the cost of repairs, the delay is unacceptable. "Repairs will cost over Sh19 million and we want the board to know that we are tired of their numerous promises. We want to see repairs begin on the affected roads immediately," he said.

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