Kipchabo Tea Factory
After the maturing of its first tea bushes in 1989, Nyayo Tea Zones Development Corporation (NTZDC) waited for another 25 years before delivering its green leaf to its own factory.For, understandably, until then, this Government Corporation was still playing catch-up with the ideation process of becoming a manufacturer, 32-years after the first indigenous owned tea factory in Kenya was established in Ragati, Nyeri County. At the time, all the the tea grown by NTZDC was being processed by KTDA and other industry players. That arrangement however changed in 2010 in the North Rift Region, when the Corporation opened its Kipchabo Tea Factory (KTF) in 2010, marking the first tea manufacturing plant owned by NTZDC.
In 2014, the Corporation embarked on a strategy, hinged on achieving maximum commercial potential, by embracing value addition that included tea processing, blending, packaging and branding of all of its products using the unit located within KTF, according to Maina. To date beginning November 2014 the Corporation has introduced five brands into the local market, including Chabo Tea, Chabo Tea bag, Eco Tea, Kipchabo FDS and soon to be launched Najma Tea. According to Maina, the Nandi county-based plant processes 15 million kg of green leaf annually, earning for the Corporation an estimated Ksh 1.2 billion within the period.
As of 2022, out growers at KTF numbered 3844 from an initial figure of 1503 registered in 2014 when they were first brought on board, an indication, members have more than doubled within eight years.
It would take another eight years for NTZDC to launch a second factory.
Nestled within the agriculture rich Kirinyaga County one finds Gatitu Tea Factory (GTF) which took six years to complete, officially opening its’ door in 2022.