Murang’a MCAs persuade tea counties to adopt common law

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The Murang’a county assembly will lobby the 18 tea growing counties to customize the Murang’a County Tea Bill as a common law in the sector.

The bill passed last week will be used to guide the growing and marketing of tea in the counties.

Peter Kihungi said that the bill has received overwhelming support from small-scale farmers and it is known that it will come in handy in guiding the sector, which has had problems for a long time.

The bill proposes the formation of a directorate to promote and accelerate the growth of the tea industry.The directorate will also seek new international markets for the produce and reduce the amount of tea sold at the Mombasa tea auction, while solving disputes between farmers and factories.

It will comprise 15 people from the county government, the assembly and tea factories. The directorate will prescribe the minimum period within which farmers should be paid and penalize factories for delayed payments.

The MCAs adopted the bill sponsored by Kinyona MCA Charles Kirigwi after rejecting Governor Mwangi Wairia’s memorandum opposing its passage until a case in the High Court in Kericho is determined.

The Kericho government filed a petition seeking Sh87 billion from the Kenya Tea Development Agency as compensation for more than 400,000 small-scale farmers in the Western region for alleged exploitation by major players in the sector.

Wairia had said the outcome of the petition would have a far-reaching effects on the bill, especially on the issue of cess, as Kericho county wants the court to declare the agricultural produce cess unconstitutional.

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