By Jacky Soy
Small-scale tea growers supplying their produce to Rorok Tea Factory in Konoin have petitioned the members of Bomet County Assembly to pass a motion compelling Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) to separate them with farmers from Kapset Tea Factory.
The farmers who have boycotted plucking tea for some days said they want to be independent from Kapset so that their earnings can increase.
“Our factory is a satellite factory for ten years now and it is time we separate and stand as an independent factory so that our earnings can go up,” Cheruiyot Baliach, a farmer said during a protest.
The management of Rorok have been forced to halt normal operation after the farmers started the boycott.
Baliach said Kapset has contributed to low earnings of their members due to their poor quality. “As Rorok farmers we have consistently produced quality tea but because of the low quality that is processed that is blended with ours, we have ended up earning poorly over the years and it is time we separate,” said Baliach.
A petition signed by nearly 1,000 farmers was presented to Assembly Speaker Shadrack Rotich for consideration.
Several members of the Assembly have backed the petition.
Singorwet Ward representative Alfred Langat said the move will see six other satellite factories join the petition, adding that it cannot be Bomet County alone where factories remain satellite for years.
Kaptepengwet Zone KTDA director Stanley Cheruiyot said the concerns by the farmers were genuine but had not received full support of the entire shareholders.
He however said talks were underway to resolve the stalemate.