NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 7 – Thousands of small -scale tea farmers across the country who are affiliated to Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) will go to the polls on Tuesday to elect directors for their factory companies.

About 190,000 farmers out of a total of 560,000 who are the shareholders will elect two directors from each of the 54 factory companies, making a total of 108 seats being contested.

KTDA Group Company Secretary, John Kennedy Omanga, said there are more than 260 candidates vying for the directorships, having met all the requirements set for participation in the elections.

The directors, who retire on rotation every year, are subject to the nomination process according to their respective Company Articles.

Each factory company has six electoral areas, each represented by a director. Two of the six directors must retire after serving for three years, but they may seek re-election, subject to set rules.

Elections in all the 54 factory companies will be conducted through the weighted voting system of shares introduced in 2008. Voting will be by secret ballot.

Results of the eagerly awaited elections from about 200 polling stations will be announced on the same day at the respective electoral areas once tallying of ballots is completed.

Omanga said the annual polls, which are held under a transparent, free and fair system, are an essential part of the corporate governance process at KTDA-managed factories that requires shareholders to elect their representatives as stipulated under Company Laws and Articles of respective factory companies.

The elections come at a time when tea farmers have enjoyed record high earnings.

In 2012, earnings by smallholder tea farmers increased to Sh61.4 billion, a 12.5 percent rise from the previous financial year.

The total payout to farmers increased to Sh45.3 billion, which is the highest ever in the history of the country.

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