Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s has maintained that the Judiciary is frustrating impeding government-led reforms, proposed in the Tea Amendment Bill, 2023.
Speaking from Kigumo, Murang’a County, on Saturday, February 10, Gachagua said there’s need for dynamic pricing mechanisms, and that farmers should be paid in dollars because Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) trades tea in US dollars.
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Responding to Gatanga MP Edward Muriu’s observations regarding dwindling farmer incomes despite the favorable dollar exchange rate, Gachagua said the strong dollar will boost farmers’ earnings.
“I concur with Muriu that if the exchange rate for the dollar is high, the same should reflect on farmers’ income because the crop trades in the USD. I will convene a meeting with KTDA and explore ways of improving the earnings,” Gachagua said.
At the moment, farmers receive between Sh20 and Sh25 for every kilogram of green leaf delivered, with additional bonuses from tea sales, typically distributed annually, varying based on factors such as tea quality.
In addition to addressing currency-related concerns, the Deputy President criticized the Judiciary for impeding government-led reforms in the tea sub-sector. he urged Judicial officers to prioritize the interests of Kenyan farmers.
”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,” the DP said, adding that a legal dispute filed in 2020 has delayed the implementation of crucial regulations aimed at reforming the sector.
“The courts suspended implementation of regulations aimed at reforming the subsector and delayed determination of the case for over three years now,” he explained.
Appointed by President William Ruto to spearhead reforms in the tea, coffee, and dairy sub-sectors, Gachagua reiterated the government’s commitment to dismantling cartels across the agricultural value chain to ensure farmers receive fair compensation.
“Despite challenges, the Government is determined to streamline the subsector for the benefit of the farmers. No amount of resistance will stop me from delivering on the reforms as assigned by President Ruto,” affirmed the Deputy President.