- Category: News and Highlights
The Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) launched a study on the ‘Capacity Needs Assessment of the Kenya Public Service Transformation Programme in the Tea Sector’ on 21 March 2016 at the Serena Hotel, Nairobi.
KIPPRA’s Acting Executive Director Dr Dickson Khainga gave opening remarks while acknowledging the importance of the tea sector to Kenya’s economy. Dr Khainga said KIPPRA was proud to be part of the important research to streamline the sector to ensure optimal returns.
The study, which is funded by the Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), aims at assessing the capacity of various institutions and the value chains in Kenya’s tea industry as well as give recommendations. Representing ACBF was Programme Officer, Mr Beruk Negash, who highlighted the institution's investment in various capacity building initiatives in Africa.
Tetralink Taylor Consultants, which is commissioned to undertake the study, made a detailed presentation of the objectives of the study, the methodology and various parameters to be used. This was followed by presentations by representatives of various institutions in the tea sector.
The launch was officially opened by Ms Sabina Maghanga, a director in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, who represented the Principal Secretary Mr Saitoti Torome. Ms Maghanga reiterated the importance of the tea industry in creating employment, earning foreign exchange and contributing to Kenya’s economic growth. She said the ministry was, therefore, committed to streamlining the sector and ensuring that capacity gaps are identified and filled.
Stakeholders in the tea industry highlighted challenges and gave suggestions as well as recommendations on various aspects affecting the sector. Some of the concerns that came up included the need to incorporate a human face and build the capacity of tea industry workers and farmers.
Another stakeholder suggested that the study should be aligned with current green growth economy studies in Kenya to ensure the adoption of environmentally-friendly practices. It was also suggested that the current regulations that allowed Kenya to export tea in 50kg sacks in order not to attract tariffs may not be cost-effective. Some stakeholders felt that the country could reap more if it branded and packaged its tea in smaller quantities, even if it meant paying the tariffs. The need to add value to the tea leaves, even at the farm level, was emphasized. This would ensure the farmers reap better returns.
Also, given that agriculture has been devolved to the counties, participants felt the need to adequately involve stakeholders in the 17 counties that grow tea.
It was also noted that as opposed to the maximum yield of 3.5kg of tea per bush per year, most Kenyan farmers only managed 1kg per bush per year hence the need to adopt best practices to improve yields.
To conclude the launch, the acting head of the Productive Sector Division at KIPPRA, Ms Nancy Laibuni, gave a vote of thanks and intruduced KIPPRA's team members working on the project. Ms Laibuni noted that the attendace had supassed their expectation and thanked all stakeholders for their valued input.