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Last Updated:[14-12-2010 07:55:21 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Kenya Offers Unique Delight - Engages Tourists in Agro-processes



tradenews Kenya with a novel approach is providing holidaymakers with an unparalleled experience to be physically involved in tea production processes including plucking the leaves and loading them off to factory. The Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers (KENFAP), in partnership with Netherlands venture capitalist Agriterra, and the local community in Chogoria, Meru will be officially offering this to tourists by the end of this month.

According to The Business Daily, the local community has donated 1.6 hectares of land to put up tourist accommodation that included cottages, a camping site and huts built in Meru’s housing style. The site is surrounded by scenic hills, green and lush vegetation, rivers, waterfalls and caves that are already the core tourist attractions in the area.

As part of providing tourists a new experience, the holidaymakers are taken to the tea plantations and given tea plucking bags to join the residents at work. Later, after the completion of the work these bags are loaded to the trucks and escorted to the factory.

At the factory, a designated person explains the whole process of converting the leaves and buds into tea, concluding the day with a taste of tea at its tea café. The tea plantations are located at Chogoria, which is adjacent to the Meru National Park and foot of Mount Kenya.

Charles Gitau, the program manager said the tea holidays had already brought an influx of tourists to the area. In 2005, the project was set out on a small scale to promote Miru’s Kilimo Talii, a Kiswahili name for Agro-tourism as the centre of ‘tea holidays’ in the world.

To encourage locals to commit to the project, KENFAP, the majority shareholder, initially sold shares to individual farmers at Sh100 a share, with a minimum stake of 50 shares to become a full member. Gitau informed the idea was to have every member of Chogoria on board, so that everyone would be able to own a share of this project.

In May this year, the United Nations Tourism Organisation, introduced the Sustainable Tourism for Elimination of Poverty Program, to further develop community tourism such as the Kilimo Talii program by injecting Sh16mn of funding. This niche tourism sub-sector is estimated to grow by as much as 20 to 30 percent per annum with the support of a new class of holidaymakers who wish to integrate with labouring communities and learn about agricultural, environmental, cultural and social diversity.

By Jose Roy




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