The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) is currently experiencing a decline in tea supply as farmers seek alternatives while others are uprooting the crop, Nation reports.
The formerly Kenya Tea Development Authority's (KTDA) shaky future was foreseen by the then Home Affairs Assistant Minister Martin Shikuku as early as 1974.
Shikuku, a self-declared 'The People's Watchman', alleged once that Kenyans were being used to benefit foreigners at the expense of farmers and in return they got lucrative salaries.
The late politician once said the British multinationals under leadership of Brooke Bond Liebig were out to impoverish small scale farmers by introducing discriminatory rules governing the tea sector.
“If you look at the salaries of those boys, our fellow Africans, the agents of the suckers, you will be surprised. If you look at the cess which is levied on the small scale tea farmers to feed these few individuals, you will be surprised. This cess is meant to exploit the small-scale tea farmers and feed a few individuals,” argued Shikuku on the floor of the House as quoted by Daily Nation.
His view in the 70s seems to be the current reflection of the tea sector.
Small scale farmers are complaining about reduced prices attracting political interest calling for an end to KTDA’s monopoly.