Relationship between value addition strategies and performance of Kenya tea development agency managed factories in Meru county
Fierce competition is the hallmark of today’s global economy. In such an environment, Agricultural producers cannot afford to merely produce primary agri-based products and hope to get any decent returns from the market without being pushed out by the competition. The need for value addition of products has become more necessary than before in order to provide the consumers world-wide with pure branded products from source. Firms can diversify into value added production so as to infuse more value into the product supply chain. The objective of the study was to determine the relationship between value addition strategies and performance of Kenya Tea Development Agency Managed Factories in Meru County. The research adopted a descriptive research design and used primary data which was collected through a self-administered questionnaire. The data collected was analyzed by the use of mean and standard deviations while presentation was done using tables, and percentages. The study found out that branding of tea delivered to these factories being undertaken and it enabled the factories to create a distinctive image thus differentiating their commodity products. The study also found that blending was way in which the factories could add value to the tea, which could enable the tea factories to come up with better tasting tea created through a well-balanced flavor using different tea grades, seasonal productions and characters. It also allowed for changes in tea leaf quality and seasonal differences to be smoothed out. Further, the study established that through value addition strategies, the factories can differentiate themselves from other factories and organizations by producing and providing superior or premium quality goods. Tea flavoring imparts attractive taste and aroma to the tea thus maintains the sensory attributes of the tea a long period of time thus extending the shelf life and keeping quality of the tea and hence the factory's product is differentiated on this aspect. The KTDA factories in Meru County have however not engaged in any considerable tea flavoring undertaking. In conclusion, the study found that value addition has been undertaken by the factories and the multinational companies in order to increase the value of the produced tea and also be competitive in the market. Consequently, the study recommends that the government should put in place policies that ensures that all the factories managed by KTDA adds value to the tea produced by the small scale farmers so that there is higher returns to the farmers.
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