- The Kenya Tea Development Agency Management Services Limited (KTDA MS) is gearing up to ensure a bountiful harvest for smallholder tea farmers in the upcoming year 2023/2024.
- Subsequently, it will be dispatched via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to Nairobi and onwards to the tea factories.
- KTDA is committed to supporting over 650,000 small-scale tea farmers, who are shareholders in its managed factories.
The Kenya Tea Development Agency Management Services Limited (KTDA MS) is gearing up to ensure a bountiful harvest for smallholder tea farmers in the upcoming year 2023/2024.
To achieve this, the agency has embarked on an ambitious venture, importing a substantial quantity of fertiliser to aid these farmers in their tea cultivation efforts.
A staggering 92,737 metric tonnes of fertiliser will be distributed to smallholder tea farmers, setting the stage for a prosperous season.
This chemically compounded NPK 26:5:5 fertilizer, an essential component for tea cultivation, has been directly procured from Russia, ensuring quality and reliability in the supply chain.
The initial shipment, carrying a substantial 47,800 tonnes of fertiliser, arrived at the Port of Mombasa yesterday.
This shipment is equivalent to a remarkable 956,000 50-kilogram bags of fertiliser.
Furthermore, a second shipment containing the remaining balance is scheduled to dock in November, further securing the supply for the agricultural season.
To facilitate the efficient and cost-effective distribution of the fertiliser to the tea farmers, it will be meticulously bagged at the port.
Subsequently, it will be dispatched via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to Nairobi and onwards to the tea factories.
This logistical arrangement eliminates the additional financial burden that farmers would otherwise incur in transporting the fertiliser from factory stores.
However, the cost of this vital agricultural input has faced several challenges, including the escalating prices of natural gas, a crucial component in the production of chemically compounded NPK fertiliser.
Additionally, unfavourable exchange rates, global supply constraints, soaring crude oil costs, and the expenses associated with shipping have collectively influenced the final cost of a 50-kilogram bag of fertiliser.
This cost will be determined after accounting for clearing and transportation costs to various tea factories across the nation, as well as marine and overland insurance expenses.
The application of fertiliser on tea bushes during the onset of the short rains is crucial for ensuring the consistent production of high-quality and abundant green tea leaves, which are integral to premium tea production.
KTDA is committed to supporting over 650,000 small-scale tea farmers, who are shareholders in its managed factories.
The agency procures fertiliser in bulk through competitive international bidding and subsequently distributes it to farmers via their respective factory companies.
This arrangement ensures that small-scale tea farmers have access to high-quality fertiliser at competitive prices, with reliability in supply.
The effectiveness of KTDA's procurement and distribution process has garnered interest from external entities and individuals not directly affiliated with the KTDA network.
They, too, are increasingly opting to place their fertiliser orders through KTDA, given its proven track record.
Furthermore, KTDA offers a fertiliser credit scheme designed to alleviate the financial burden on farmers.
This scheme allows farmers to make payments in instalments for the ordered fertiliser, spreading the cost over several months.
This strategic initiative eases the financial constraints associated with purchasing fertiliser, which is a substantial input cost in tea farming.
With these efforts, KTDA MS is actively working to empower smallholder tea farmers and ensure the prosperity of the tea industry in Kenya.