Tea industry leaders held an online meeting on 21st April 2020 under the auspices of Agriculture Sector Network (ASNET) to discuss the draft Crops (Tea Industry) Regulations 2020, which are under public review. The meeting was led by Dr. Bimal Kantaria, Chairman of ASNET.
The draft Regulations were developed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives in consultation with the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) and the County Governments to guide the development, promotion, and regulation of the tea industry for the benefit of the tea growers and other stakeholders in the tea industry.
During the meeting, stakeholders discussed the implications of the draft regulations on the tea value chain. Members appreciated the need for regulations noting that the tea industry had operated without regulations for the last 7 years as the existing regulations were based on the Tea Act that was abolished in 2012. Further, it was observed that the tea industry does not have a policy and that there is a need for the Ministry of Agriculture and stakeholders to fast-track the Tea Bill.
Members noted that tea farmers were struggling as a result of declining tea prices in the global markets. In this regard, the review of Tea Regulations was crucial but should be done in line with the Kenya Constitution, the Crops Act, other Acts of Parliament and international treaties.
It was agreed that members would interrogate the regulations and submit their memorandum to the Ministry of Agriculture. East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) would take the lead in developing a joint memorandum for the tea industry while cross-cutting issues would be shared with ASNET to make a global presentation to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives.
The meeting was attended by representatives from EATTA, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), Kenya Tea Growers Association (KTGA), Sasini, Melvins Tea, James Finlays, Ngorongo Tea factory, Eastern Produce Kenya, Kariana Tea and Emrok Tea factories.