Tea farming in Nandi County has received a boost following the commissioning of the Sireet Tea Factory, which is owned by smallholder farmers.
Construction of the factory that is located in Kamarich, was fully financed by National Bank of Kenya (NBK).
It has injected an additional daily processing capacity of 5million kilogrammes of green leaf annually, to meet growing demand from increasing acreage of tea planted in the area.
The new factory is owned by Sireet Outgrowers Empowerment and Producer (OEP) Company that has 6235 members, drawn from amongst small-scale farmers.
It is the second factory owned by the firm that also runs another two-line one that can process 98,000 kilogrammes of green leaf daily.
“We are excited to be part of the transformational journey of Sireet. It is a demonstration of the huge strength in unity. It shows the huge potential that can be unlocked when investors come together, with a common purpose, and receive the right backing,” said John Nyerere, NBK’s board chair.
Tea is the main cash crop grown in Nandi County. Formed in 2005, Sireet Outgrowers Empowerment and Producer Company owns a 7,000-acre tea estate.
It employs 240 people, besides owning commercial forests, and running Sireet OEP Guesthouse, a school, dispensary and staff housing in the area.
The Chairman of Siret OEP Mr Wilson Tuei said: “The commissioning of this new factory is a huge milestone. It significantly enhances our ability to produce quality tea products for the whole world. We are grateful for the great support from NBK that has helped make this a reality. Besides adding capacity to process our members’ produce, this also will also create wealth and job opportunities.”