Home News News around Africa Small-scale tea farmers in western Kenya shift focus as earnings decline
News around Africa - June 27, 2018

Small-scale tea farmers in western Kenya shift focus as earnings decline

Small-scale tea farmers in Kakamega and Vihiga counties are changing their focus to other sources of income notwithstanding the huge potential for the cash crop.

Cultivators, who own small parcels of land between an acre to five, are uprooting their tea to plant other food crops such as dairy farming, poultry and horticulture.

Inasmuch as Kakamega and Vihiga county governments have pledged to inject funds, facilitate the construction of a factory at Madala trading centre in Shinyalu Constituency and encouraged farmers to embrace tea farming in the region, many farmers have left their tea bushes unattended, lowering the prospects of good returns in future.

Farmers still into tea cultivation complained that they have lost hope because of low bonus payments from government which is not commensurate with the effort they put into the farms daily.

Mr John Mutimburi, a tea farmer from Emuhaya sub-county said: “I am frustrated. I am considering uprooting the bushes and cultivating other crops. Tea has made me poorer and unable to sustain life needs.”

Farmers are now opting to hawk their produce to privately owned tea factories in the neighbouring Nandi County. They are selling their produce to private processors through a scheme they have dubbed ‘M-Pesa’ because they receive instant payments.

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