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Kenyan Professor claims that tea-plucking machines will create more jobs in Kenya

Local workers have staged protests fearing that the machinery will leave them without work

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А new wave of tea pickers’ protests has gripped Kenya. Workers have been destroying tea-plucking machines out of concern that the equipment is being brought in to replace them, according to RT News

Speaking to RT on Tuesday, Anthony Osambo, professor of economics at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, said that the introduction of tea-plucking machines is a great achievement and in the long term such technology will create more jobs. 

He gave an example from the country’s history, describing the period when Kenya’s coal industry was being replaced by the oil industry. In the end, the oil industry generated more possibilities for employment, Osambo told RT.

Statistics show that one automated tea-plucking machine can replace 100 workers and one machine reduces the cost of harvesting tea from 11 cents to 3 cents per kilogram. 

According to local Kenyan media reports, at least 10 tea-plucking machines were destroyed last year. Nine tea harvesting machines belonging to the Ekaterra Tea company were also destroyed in May.

In March, the Kenyan government recommended that tea companies in Kericho, the country’s largest tea-growing city, introduce a 40:60 ratio of hand-plucking to mechanical tea harvesting.

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