On Tuesday night, Parliament passed the much-awaited Tea Bill.
The Bill is expected to kick start the revival of Tea Board of Kenya and adoption of new regulations to govern the cartel-soaked sector.
The Tea Bill, sponsored at the Senate by Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, was at the National Assembly for the final passing.
The National Assembly Debate concluded at 11pm and will have to now go through the Third Reading where it is only scrutinised for clarity.
Reacting to the news, Kericho Senator posted on twitter: “We really thank God for the journey so far. This is huge,”
I stayed in Bunge until 11pm to ensure that radical changes on KTDA sailed through. The Tea Bill brings back Tea Board of Kenya, Tea Research Foundation and empowers Agric CS to make regulations. Also, BBI doc supports tea reforms. Hope Deputy President William Ruto supports it. pic.twitter.com/tArTzSNllg
— Hon. Ben Momanyi (@momanyi_hon) December 2, 2020
If and when the President signs the Bill into Law, tea brokers, buyers and auction organisers will have to ensure that the proceeds from the sale of tea is paid within 14 days and the factory will now pay 50 per cent of receipt of the sales to the farmers.
This will mean that Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), which has been holding a huge chunk of the proceeds for a year, will no longer have access to the tea billions since the money will now be controlled at the factory level. The balance of the money will be paid at the end of the financial year.
Management agents will no longer enter into an agreement with a tea factory without the approval of the agreement by the Tea Board. KTDA has previously been accused of taking powers of the factory boards and running the farmers’ companies by entering into opaque agreements.
In the KTDA agreements, the agent provides the factories with a company secretary and thus controls the election of the directors by disqualifying candidates through a pre-qualification process.
The CS will also have powers to prescribe regulations for the tea auction. At the moment, the sole tea action, East African Tea Trade Association, has taken CS Munya to court for prescribing regulations to govern the tea sector.
Farmers will now be able to monitor their tea through the value chain.