Cherono Lily Kitur and Stephen Kipkorir Rotich
The technological wind blowing across the entire world has meant that no organization is left behind. Technology has been applied in various ways in the agricultural sector which include: fertilizer applications, spraying, weeding, storage and harvesting with the aim of improving quality, quantity and production of the end products. Tea firms are embracing new technology through implementation of mechanical tea harvesters, replacing hand picking. In spite of the anticipated benefits that have been associated with this form of technology, there is however no clear picture on how it is impacting on the firm and the employee productivity. This study therefore sorts to establish the effects associated with the implementation of mechanical tea harvesters on employee productivity using one of the tea estates in Kericho County as a case study. It adopted a case study design. Both purposive and simple random sampling techniques were used to select the respondents. Stratified sampling was also used to categorize workers into managers, supervisors and tea pluckers who provided the information. A target population of 213 and sample size of 107 participants was used. Questionnaires and Interview schedule were used to collect data. Data collected was coded and presented by use of descriptive statistics such as frequency tables, pie charts, bar graphs and Percentages. From the research findings it emerged that the introduction of the machines has generated both positive and negative attributes to the firm and to the employees. Specifically, it has led to, reduction of labour cost, increased production in tea estates and improved wages. The direct emission of smoke, noise and loss of employment opportunities generally appeared to be major negative attributes to the employees. The beneficiaries of the study are; the tea companies in adopting technologies, the government when making policies and trade unions when negotiating for the wages of the employees. From the study findings, stakeholders can utilize the information to enhance development of the technology without impacting negatively on human resource.