Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Saturday, February 10, revealed that there was a government plan underway to pay tea farmers based on the dollar exchange rate.
Speaking in Kigumo, Murang’a County, Gachagua stated that he would meet with the Kenya Tea Development Agency to work on frameworks for the new payment method.
It is Gachagua’s belief that this payment model will increase tea earnings for small-scale farmers as the Dollar continues to appreciate against the Shilling.
The Deputy President wondered how tea earnings had remained constant at a time when the Shilling exchanged at an all-time high against the Dollar.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua speaking in Kigumo Constituency on February 10, 2023.
Going forward, a higher exchange rate of the Dollar will match earnings for tea farmers according to the Deputy President.
“If the exchange rate for the Dollar is high, the same should reflect on farmers’ income because the crop trades in the USD,” Gachagua stated.
“I will convene a meeting with KTDA and explore ways of improving the earnings. We cannot have a fixed rate of payment, the price should be paid at the existing exchange rate of the Dollar on the respective day.”
While the Dollar is exchanging above 160 against the Shilling, Kenyan farmers receive a paltry Ksh20 to Ksh25 for every kilogram of green tea leaves sold.
Additionally, the bonus given at the end of the year does not reflect the current exchange rate but the quality of tea sold by the farmer.
Gachagua further added that there were plans to end exploitation of tea farmers but the efforts were being sabotaged by the Judiciary.
“I appeal to the Judiciary that tea reforms were so well crafted; the public was engaged. The courts suspended implementation of regulations aimed at reforming the subsector and delayed determination of the case for over three years now,” he regretted.
Additionally, Gachagua promised that apart from tea, President William Ruto’s administration was also exploring ways to empower coffee farmers.
Kenyan farmers taking coffee beans to a cooperative society.
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