The Tea Board of Kenya is a State Corporation in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development established by Tea Act No. 23 of 2020 to develop, regulate and promote tea sub-sector. The Board is governed by a Board of Directors) appointed by the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Agriculture and Livestock Development while day to day operations are directed by the Chief Executive Officer.
“To make Kenya tea the preferred beverage in the World”
“To sustainably develop and promote the tea value chain through effective regulation”
- Customer focus
- Innovation and continuous learning
- Collaboration and teamwork.
Kenya is famous the world over for its production of high quality tea.
Tea Was introduced in Kenya in 1903 when a few tea plants were planted at Limuru in Kiambu District by the white settlers for experimental purposes. Pursuant to the annexation of the land policies through the Registration of Documents Ordinance of 1901 and the Crown Lands Ordinance of 1915, The European agricultural settlement schemes in the Kenyan highlands started. The European agricultural settlement schemes were re-affirmed when the European Agricultural Settlement Ordinance was enacted and by 1924 tea cultivation had attained commercial production level.
The first legal instrument to govern the production of tea was enacted as the Tea Ordinance, 1934 (No 46 of 1934). This Ordinance was revised by the Tea Ordinance, 1948 (No. 52 of 1948) which became effective on 15th August, 1948. The objectives of the Tea Ordinance, 1948 were to provide for the control of the production of tea in the Colony. The institution of the Directorate of Agriculture was responsible for controlling the production of tea by issuing licences and permits to farmers until 1950 when the Tea Board of Kenya was established to regulate the industry.
Following the agitation for independence from 1947 onwards, a study of the African agriculture was made and the Swynnerton Plan of 1954 was drawn up to be implemented by the Government to help improve the African agriculture. By 1960, the European Agricultural Ordinance Settlement Ordinance, 1955 (No. 38 of 1955) was repealed and the Agriculture Ordinance (No. 8 of 1955) was amended by the Ordinance No. 47 of 1960 in order to reflect the new changes in the agricultural sector. At that time the European farmers were already experienced in the cultivation of tea but African farmers were only beginning to grow tea. They started planting tea, among other cash crops, between 1956 and 1959.
To promote the cultivation of cash crops the Special Crops Development Authority (SCDA) was formed under the Agriculture Act in 1960. This body was replaced by the KTDA in 1964 when the Kenya Tea Development Order 1964 was promulgated. At the time of independence in December 1963, the tea estates and the few smallscale farms had 21,448 hectares of planted tea. The area planted has increased over the years to stand at 113,892 hectares by 1997.
The Tea Ordinance, 1948 was repealed by the Tea Act of 1960 (No. 61 of 1960). Since then, the legal framework has been used without major amendments. While great strides have been made in the development, of the tea industry, especially under the small holder sub-sector under the KTDA, the relevant institutions, the policy and legal framework need to be reviewed particularly now under a liberalized economy. The substantial growth and structural changes experienced by the industry over the last 34 years is evidently due to the very conducive policy environment that has encouraged continued investment in the estates sub-sector and the smallholder sub-sector.Kenya is famous the world over for its production of high quality tea. The Government recognizes the important role of agriculture as the major sector in the Kenyan economy in terms of feeding the nation, creating employment, generating increased income and foreign exchange and providing raw materials for industry. To effectively manage and enhance the ability of the sector to play the important role, the Government has undertaken significant structural adjustment reform measures such as liberalization and privatization of the various agricultural sub-sectors. In view of accelerating this process within the tea sub-sector, the Government has developed a detailed action plan on the structural reforms within the tea industry, and in particular the privatization of the Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) which has been managing the tea activities in the smallholder sub-sector and modalities to strengthen the Tea Board of Kenya to enable it undertake its mandated role as the main regulatory body of the industry.
The General Objectives for the Tea Board of Kenya are to:
- To review the industry regulatory framework in line with new industry developments and the constitutional/legal dispensation.
- To sensitize internal and external stakeholders, including small and medium enterprises (SME) on the new regulatory framework to facilitate its successful implementation.
- To regulate the Tea Industry by registration and licensing of the tea players along the value chain – namely Tea manufacturers, Management agents, Brokers,
- To enforce Tea Industry regulations,
- To benchmark on best practices and enhance self-regulation among tea dealers;
- To enhance the compliance at tea factories and traders level by conducting regular inspections of the stakeholder's premises to ensure compliance to regulations.
- To collaborate with the lead agencies on tea standards development and quality analysis across the value chain to ensure compliance to safety and quality standards.
- Enhance stakeholders' engagement.
- To develop and review products standards and Industry code of practice
- To ensure that customer's expectations are met as expected.
- To address customer complaints and concerns to meet their satisfaction.
- To improve overall industry efficiency by enforcing service level standards for critical activities at every stage of the value chain.
The Strategic Objectives for the Tea Board of Kenya are to:
- To enhance competitiveness of the tea industry for job and wealth creation;;
- To enhance compliance to the Tea Act, 2020, Tea Regulations and Tea Standards;
- To boost growth and productivity in tea;
- To enhance market access and integration into global value chains;
- To promote good governance along tea industry institutions; and
- To strengthen Tea Board of Kenya Institutional framework to effectively deliver on its mandate.