Indigenous Kenyans were barred by law from growing tea until the dawn of independence when the legislation was repealed for the indigenous people to commence on tea growing.
In 1960, the colonial government created the Special Crops Development Authority (SCDA) to promote growing of tea by Africans under the auspices of the ministry of Agriculture. After Independence , Kenya Tea Development Authority was formed through legal notice No.42 of 1964 and took over the liabilities and functions of the SCDA to promote and foster the growing of tea in small farms, which were previously said to be unviable in view of the expertise and costs required, as witnessed in the plantation sector.
Since then the growing of tea by the small-scale sub-sector in Kenya has carved a niche for itself in the global tea trade.
Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited was incorporated on 15th June 2000 as a private company under (CAP 486) of the laws of Kenya, becoming one of the largest private tea management agencies. The Agency currently manages 67 factories in the small-scale tea sub-sector in Kenya