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Title: Smallholder Tea Leaf Transportation in Kiambu District, Kenya
Authors: Allan, Lilian Wambui
Keywords: Smallholder -- Tea Leaf Transportation
Issue Date: Feb-1995
Publisher: Egerton University
Abstract: Transportation problem is a major concern in Kenya's tea industry. Kenya Tea Development Authority field operation costs in general and leaf collection and transportation costs in particular have been increasing faster than growth in revenue. This study examines transportation costs in the smallholder tea sub-sector of Kiambu district, Kenya. By using a linear programming transportation model, the study shows how these costs could be minimized to enhance the farmers’ net income. Data was obtained by a survey conducted in four leaf base networks. The survey data included the number of tea buying centres, green leaf collected from each centre, distance from the centres to the factory and the fleet of vehicle serving each network. The data were used to calculate per unit cost of transporting leaf from each buying centre. The model established an optimum pattern through which buying centres can. be attached to factories such that the essential needs of each factory in terms of processing capacity are met while minimizing transportation costs. The results indicate nearly 24 percent cost savings on green leaf transport costs when the optimal pattern rather than the existing pattern of buying centre attachment to factories is employed. The savings derived from the rearrangement in buying centre attachment provide the major economic benefit. Apart from minimizing transport costs, the new arrangement in the leaf base network also minimizes green leaf losses on transit and deterioration of quality of made tea. The re-arrangement reduces waiting time at the farthest buying centre and eliminates the need for a second trip to such a centre on the same day. The shorter haulage distances can help to avoid partial loads and contribute towards maximum capacity of the KTDA fleet. Farmers can increase plucking since the less time spent transporting green leaf translates to more time being available for plucking. In general, the results show that the optimal plan is associated.with lower transportation costs when compared with the existing plan and triggers important responses from participants in the leaf collection operations. A reorganization of the buying centre attachment to factories is therefore necessary in order to improve on the transportation of green leaf from buying centres to factories, at least, in the study area.
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Agriculture

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