Paul Ringera, the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) Director in charge of Meru zone
Seven tea factories in the county have won a major fight for the control of a Sh25 million road fund from the abolished ad varolem levy.
In a meeting with factory chairmen from the region, the county government conceded ground and allowed the factories to control the kitty, which is meant for road maintenance in tea catchment areas on the slopes of Mt Kenya and Nyambene Hills.
The county government, which was represented by officials from the departments of Agriculture, Administration, and Roads and Infrastructure, agreed that the factories could control the kitty subject to oversight from the county’s technical officers.
At least Sh25 million has been sent to the county by the Tea Directorate at the Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Authorities from the Meru factories’ contribution to the ad valorem levy on tea exports at the Mombasa Tea Auction that was abolished by the Jubilee government.
“We are very grateful to the Government for abolishing this levy as it was an unnecessary burden on the farmers,” said Kenya Tea Development Agency Director for Meru Zone, Paul Ringera.
Tea production dips by 25 per cent
The meeting convened by Agriculture Executive Jenaro Guantai agreed that the county government would remit the funds in the next few weeks to the factories’ cess accounts.
Meanwhile, five factories in the region will soon benefit from two Sh1.8 billion mini-hydro-power projects set up on rivers Iraru and South Maara.
According to Mr Ringera, the Sh1 billion South Maara mini-hydro project was 80 per cent complete while the Sh850 million Iraru mini-hydro plant was 60 per cent complete.
Commissioning of both projects is expected by the close of the year. Once complete, the projects will cater for Weru, Kionyo, Githongo, Kinoro and Imenti areas.