The Council of Governors has rejected in totality the tea-reform regulations being promoted by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, saying the county bosses were not involved in their formulation.
They said Agriculture had been devolved and it was wrong to ignore the county’s input in any major policies geared at improving the struggling sector.
“We note that the proposed policies, regulations and standards negate and violate the principles of devolution. Therefore, we reject them in total,” said the council Monday in a press statement signed by Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki, who is the Governors Agriculture Committee chairman.
It is a blow to CS Munya, who has been traversing the country to encourage farmers to support the reforms, saying they will increase their income from the crop.
The governors accused the CS of violating the Constitution by pressing on with the tea regulations without the counties’ input.
“The Fourth schedule of the Constitution has devolved to the County Governments the function of Agriculture, trade development and regulation. Therefore, the attempt by the Ministry of Agriculture to purport to implement these functions is a violation of the Constitution and the corresponding laws developed by the County Governments to ensure smooth implementation of these functions,” they said.
They also accused him of putting in place a Tea Reforms Committee that did not have any representation of county governments.
Some of the new tea regulations target watering down the powers of the Kenya Tea Development Agency over farmers.
If they are adopted, farmers will also get more momthly pay and less bonuses as opposed to the current structure.
The governors, also opposed the proposed government take over of the KTDA.
“KTDA belongs to farmers and cannot revert to government. As such, KTDA reforms should be undertaken by the farmers to suit their needs. Further, oversight should be undertaken by County Governments,” they said.