Automation of Tea Plucking in Kenya


Kenya Tea Development Agency will be putting in measures to enable farmers to adopt mechanization for the plucking of green leaf tea to lower production costs, according to report.

Experts, farmers and processors have said there is a need for a radical shift in the production lines, both at the farm and the factory, so as to put more money in farmers’ pockets. This came as a result of a two-day tea sector reforms conference that was convened in Kericho by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Thursday 6 July.

Small Scale Tea Growers Incur Losses

According to feedback about the event, small scale growers are incurring huge losses due to sky-rocketing production costs.

In an effort to resolve this issue, a plan has been implemented to shift from manual plucking of tea to mechanisation. This is expected to significantly reduce the costs of production.

However significant this adoption may be, in the recent past tea pluckers have been known to resist the change from manual to machine labour. According to multiple local media reports, Kenyan tea pickers destroyed several machines brought in to replace them during violent protests.

Reforms for Tea Growers

Reforms, encouraged small scale tea growers to use small machines, particularly shears, that are cost-effective and productive.

“What has made tea from West of Rift and Eastern region fetch different prices in the Mombasa Tea Auction is embracing of the policies on quality plucking of tea with critical focus on two leaves and a bud that produces premium made tea,” said KTDA chairman David Ichohi.

Advantages of Automation in Agriculture

Automation in agriculture offers a significant advantage in terms of efficiency. By leveraging machines and technology, tasks can be completed faster and more consistently than relying solely on human labor.

Moreover, automation operates around the clock, eliminating the need for breaks or time off.

The result is heightened productivity on farms while simultaneously reducing labor costs. Additionally, automation minimizes the risk of human error, which can prove costly both in terms of time and finances.

There are several advantages of automating agricultural processes and notable benefits that can improve sustainability.

Precision Agriculture Technologies in Farming

Precision agriculture technologies, including GPS and drones, play a crucial role in achieving this. By utilizing these tools, farmers can optimise resources usage, particularly water, reducing waste and lessening the environmental impact associated with farming practices.

Furthermore, automation aids in the reduction of harmful pesticides and fertilizers. Machines excel in precise and accurate application, minimizing excessive use and potential environmental harm.

Overall, the integration of automation in agriculture holds tremendous potential to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and foster sustainable practices that benefit both farmers and the environment.

//Staff Writer

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