Frustrated Nyeri Farmer Arrested for Uprooting ‘Valueless’ Tea

Tea Farmers

Devastated Jubilee Youth Leader, Michael Githaiga is popularly known as Mc Myke took to social media to express his disappointment in the government over deteriorating profitability of tea farming, an activity that has been the backbone of his region.

Githaiga is seen uprooting tea bushes in his farm in Othaya Constituency, in the company of other youths, over declining returns, particularly in Uhuru’s reign mentioning that many farmers have been left with thousands of shillings in debt. He was arrested after the video went viral but later released because there were no charges to be pressed against him.

“We are not happy as young people because the Jubilee government has let us down. We voted the government in because they promised us jobs and good business for our crop. Tea was the backbone of our economy, but as at now, the prices are deteriorating for the last three to four years. We have fought this tea battle for long as youths. I have been uprooting tea plant and replacing it with Napier grass for dairy cows. As Youths, we have agreed that anything involving a middle man should be uprooted,” he ranted.

The prolonged drought that spread through the better part of this year has greatly affected their output and Kenya Tea Development Authority chairman Peter Kanyago, recently warned farmers that their tea bonus would decline. Githaiga said he has uprooted most tea bushes given to him by his parents and expects to have uprooted everything soon as many farmers have been left with thousands of shillings in debt.

“I started uprooting the bushes last year and have been doing it slowly because of lack of finances. Many have come on board and are uprooting theirs only that unlike me, they are doing so silently,” he said.

UhuRuto government has frustrated Wanjiku in his opinion. That the meager earnings are expected to pay salaries for the MPs and a big number of other elected leaders, pay taxes and cater to farmers’ needs. He added that the government has not been much of a problem solver in their situation.

If only the farmers could have a say in decision making or tea farming be reduced to a devolved unit per region, then the tea farming business would be lucrative, otherwise, farmers should try out other crops for farming.

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