Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) has been urged to safeguard the tea industry by putting in place stringent measures to ensure that only quality green leaves are processed by factories across board.
Toror Factory unit manager Evans Ragira said it was ironic that while they were insisting on quality tea to protect the industry, local harvesters were doing the opposite.
“It does not need rocket scientists to know that plucking more than two leaves will not only produce poor quality, but also injure the tree by inflicting wounds,” he said.
Ringera underscored the need to be discipline to adhere to good farming practices in a clean environment.
“After liberalization of tea industry, there is the responsibility of all players to protect the image of Kenyan tea in both local and international markets by observing quality,” he said.
He urged the Tea Board to stamp its mandated authority to protect the industry from the mushrooming factories processing poor quality green leaves and collecting from un-hygienic buying points.
Speaking to Sacco Review at the factory office in Ainamoi Constituency, he insisted on a paradigm shift in the mindset of tea pluckers through education on the merits of quality tea.
He noted that poor harvesting methods known in local lingo as mangirito, meaning to pluck randomly more than three leaves, demoralizes farmers as it attracts poor returns, prompting them to uproot their tea bushes.
By Ken Langat
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