Nairobi, Oct. 1.– Sri Lankan and Indian plantation companies often cite Kenya to demand similar conditions in order to compete in the world tea market.
Lucrative Kenyan tea plantations are owned by British corporate giants, including Unilever and James Finlay. As in other former colonial countries, tea plantation companies started in Kenya under British rule.
However, major British firms, such as Brooke Bond and Lipton, which initially operated in Sri Lanka, shifted to Kenya in the early 1970s after the Colombo government of Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike “nationalised” tea estates under state control. Today Kenya is the world’s largest tea exporter, contributing 25 percent of black tea exports.
While Kenya’s first leader Jomo Kenyatta pursued nationalist policies, foreign investment dominated the economy. Kenyatta’s son, President Uhuru Kenyatta, remains in power, manipulating elections and suppressing workers’ struggles. Under the banner of fighting “terrorism,” he is running a police state ...
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