Former Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) directors have been named in an unfolding scandal where factories bought “useless” lands meant for firewood used in factories, but where trees have failed to grow due to aridity.
And KTDA is now forced to sell off the land because the initial plan to secure arable land and grow its own trees for firewood has collapsed because the lands were bought in dry places where trees have failed to grow.
Tea factories use tons of firewood used as fuel to produce heat necessary for drying tea during processing. Factories have been relying on trees grown in private farms but also decided to buy own land and grown own trees to reduce costs and ensure sustainability.
As a rule, factories ensure they have a stock of firewood that can last up to six months at any given time because tea is harvested all year round.
It is this process of buying land that some directors have been accused of buying dry lands where trees have failed to grow in the unfolding scandal.
Pressure is now mounting on the former directors to be charged with the conspiracy and loss of farmers’ money as they are being accused of having influenced factories to buy useless arid lands and where KTDA is now forced to sell.
A case in point is parcels of land bought by Mununga Tea Factory in Kirinyaga totaling 101 acres and which KTDA is now selling because the envisaged plan to plant trees has flopped due to the aridity of the land.
A tender advertisement issued by KTDA says the land is 101 acres of four land parcels situated at Mbetu Sub-location in Embu County.
It says the parcels of land are approximately four kilometers off Embu-Siakago highway, Maruriri area in Embu County and it is within the vicinity of Kamunge Market.