Large scale tea producers raise security concerns in Kericho and Bomet Counties

Large-scale tea producers in Kericho and Bomet counties have raised concerns over  increasing insecurity plaguing Kericho, Bomet, Nyamira and Nandi Counties, stating that they are putting the safety and well-being of all employees and the operation of tea estates in jeopardy.

In a statement, they noted the escalation in insecurity within tea estates. “What began as daytime raids and thefts of tea leaves and machinery in October 2022 has now escalated into organized assaults on business premises and the deliberate destruction of crucial
assets. These criminal activities and the breakdown of law and order have severely disrupted business operations, hampering the growth of the tea industry,” read a statement signed by Silas Njibwakale, the Chairman Kenya Tea Growers Association.

They added that instances of violent confrontations between armed groups and security personnel have been witnessed, leading to severe injuries and the regrettable incident of a police vehicle being set on fire.

The statement affirmed that the value of compromised assets as a result of these security challenges is estimated at approximately Ksh50 million and an additional Ksh120 million in 4.5 million kilos of green leaf.

They added that the need to deploy additional security personnel to ensure the safety of employees and business premises has further escalated operational costs incurred by tea producers.

They also lamented that despite ongoing engagements with County security teams, the Interior Ministry, local chiefs, and elders, the situation has unfortunately worsened.

“In light of the severity of the situation, large-scale tea producers urgently call upon the highest levels of government and relevant security agencies to take immediate and decisive action to address these security challenges. The tea industry plays a vital role in the country’s economy, and the current situation, if left unaddressed, has the potential to impact the entire nation”, the statement noted.

The Chairman stated that among other measures, they intend to slowdown operations until adequate security measures are guaranteed and in extreme circumstances suspend operations.


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