Kenyan farmers destroy robots that were meant to replace them on plantations.
In Kenya, tea pickers are sabotaging robots that are supposed to replace them on plantations. Over the past year, at least ten of these machines - most belonging to tea maker Lipton - have been destroyed, resulting in $1.2 million dollars in damages for the company.
Robots of certain models can replace up to 100 workers while also lowering the cost of tea harvesting from 11 to 3 cents per kilogram. In the Kericho region alone, these machines have rendered 30,000 people jobless over the past decade. As a result, local authorities have recommended agribusiness companies to handpick at least 40% of their tea. In 2021, Kenya exported tea worth $1.2 billion, making it the third biggest supplier in the world, after China and Sri Lanka, all while maintaining the highest unemployment rate in East Africa.