The Kenya Tea Development Agency(KTDA) is set to refund farmers up to the tune of Sh1.3 billion in cash. This is after the agency failed to acquire fertilizer amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the refund, KTDA also expects to pay out an undisclosed interest rate to account for farmers’ loss by the end of the month.
“The disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic makes it impossible for the farmers to deliver the fertilizer in time for application. Farmers will be refunded the contributions they have made in the last seven months along with accrued interest,” reads the KTDA statement.
Further, the agency sought to advise on the oncoming application during October, and November short rains.
“The advice was that it is possible to skip one year with no significant losses in yields, subject to adequate rainfall. However, the subsequent application should not be delayed, to avoid further yield losses,” adds the agency.
This leaves more than 600,000 smallholder farmers to purchase fertilizers at commercial market prices. With KTDA’s bulk importation, tea farmers enjoyed competitive pricing at less than Sh2,000 for a 50-kilo bag from the agency. At market value, farmers would have to obtain the same for Sh3,000.