The Tea Bill
After Parliament passed the Tea Bill and the Senate approved it on Monday, the president's signature is the only requirement needed to transform the bill into a law. The Tea Bill was sponsored by Kericho senator, Aaron Cheruiyot, who hoped to see that the farmers were released from the shackles of meagre remittances and rife mismanagement observed in the tea industry.
The Bill seeks to regulate the Tea sector by reviving the Tea Board of Kenya, a parastatal that will have the mandate to market Kenyan tea, ensure that farmers are paid on time, and regulate the tea industry.
Tea farmers will also enjoy prompt payments since the Kenya Tea Development Agency will cease to keep hold of farmers' payments because the law will require tea brokers, buyers, and auctioneers to pay farmers 50 percent of their total sales in 14 days.
Kenyan Farmers (Standard media)
Interestingly, KTDA will not have access to the farmers' money since the sales process will be conducted directly with the tea factories. After accessing half of the receipt payment in a record two-weeks, farmers will have to wait for the balance at the end of the financial year. When signed into law, the tea bill will give the Cabinet Secretary or Minister for Agriculture the power to impose regulations on tea agencies such as KTDA while directing regulations for the tea auction.
It will also increase transparency by ensuring that tea farmers and other stakeholders in the supply chain can understand the intricacies of the supply chain process by establishing an accessible electronic trading platform that will show them how much their produce was sold. The Tea Research Foundation will be established to ensure that thorough research concerning the tea sector is conducted. Regarding taxation, farmers will have their burden reduced as the bill seeks to lower taxes imposed on them.
These actions will streamline activities such as marketing the tea and licensing tea brokers, therefore, getting rid of all the deficiencies and inefficiencies plaguing in the tea industry.