Factories Reject the Murang’a Tea Bill

Eleven tea factories on Saturday appealed to Governor Mwangi Wairia not to sign the Murang’a County Tea Bill into law.

The factories want tea to be managed by the state, not the county.

“The county government has no business interfering with the marketing of tea products,” KTDA Zone 3 board member Francis Macharia said.

He was speaking in Kenol town on behalf of the 66 factory directors gathered there.

Macharia said the bill passed in the county assembly last Wednesday had been changed and was not the document presented to farmers during public participation.

He said the clauses do not reflect their recommendations.

Macharia said the bill seeks to control tea marketing and levying of taxes, roles of the National Tea Directorate.

He said although tea production is a devolved function, the role of the county governments is limited to crop husbandry.

Macharia said tea farmers pay “too many taxes” and that the county intends to tax them even more.

“The county government wants to start licensing tea factories that are already licensed by the National Tea Directorate, which means factories will pay twice for the licences.”

Macharia urged the county government to concentrate on rehabilitation of feeder roads in tea zones.

The bill aims to ensure farmers are paid on time.

It allows the county to look for markets in collaboration with the factories.

However, the factories threatened to go to court if the governor signs the bill, saying it contravenes the Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Act.