The National Assembly has passed the Tea Bill, which will see the revival of Tea Board of Kenya and The Tea Research Foundation, which used to carry out research on the sector. The move seeks to facilitate prompt licensing of tea brokers and marketing of tea produce, making this activity more efficient and effective.
If the Bill is signed into law, tea auction organizers, buyers, and brokers will have to ensure that the proceeds from the sale of tea are paid within 14 days, and the factory will now pay 50% of receipt of the sales to the farmers. As a result, therefore, KTDA (Kenya Tea Development Agency) will no longer have access to the money since it will now be controlled at the factory level. Farmers will then receive the rest of the money at the end of the financial year.
In addition to the tea bill giving the Agriculture CS powers to prescribe regulations for the tea auction, it also allows them to prescribe regulations for the registration of management agents, such as KTDA, and the appeal process.
In the passed tea bill, the auction organizer will further establish an electronic trading platform that is accessible to all players in the value chain. This will remove the opaque practice where farmers hardly know how their produce is sold.
The tea bill also proposes to have one man, one vote, system for electing factory directors, restrict the direct sale of tea and generally reduce the influence of Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) in the management of smallholder tea affairs in the country.