Kenya to source new tea markets, stabilize prices

Kenya to source new tea markets, stabilize prices

The government has announced plans to source new markets for tea, a move that seeks to stabilize the price of the product.

“The Ministry, in collaboration with stakeholders, has identified Iran, Russia and China as potential market destinations for Kenya tea and are in the process of preparing market strategies to enhance exports to these market destinations,’’ said Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett.

The CS says, the government through its ministry is in final stages of restructuring a study on price stabilization to cushion farmers during price fluctuations.

Bett says the move comes following recent data which reveals that Kenya tea auction prices declined significantly from an average of USD 2.98 per Kilogram in 2015 to 2.36 USD in 2016 over increased supply.

The CS further attributes a sinking price to the negative impact which was slightly mitigated by strong dollar rates.

According to the 2016 tea industry performance report, tea Production for 2016 reached an all-time high of 473 million Kilograms, an 18.4 per cent higher compared to 399 million Kilograms recorded in 2015.

Out of the total production for 2016, the Smallholder sub-sector output was 265.6 million Kilograms representing 56 per cent while the Estate sub-sector was 207.4 million Kilograms accounting for just 44 per cent.

According to the report, Kericho County recorded the highest production of 93,164,821 Million kgs with Bomet (72,708,438 Million kgs) and Nandi (71,488,513 Million kgs) following in second and third places respectively.

The CS attributes the higher production is to good weather conditions experienced in tea growing areas during the first half of 2016.

“This is remarkably the highest production compared to other record outputs of 445 Million Kilograms in 2014 and 432 Million Kilograms in 2013,’’ said Bett.

Export earnings in 2016 were Sh120.6 Billion (USD 1.19 Billion) a slight drop from Sh125.2 Billion (USD 1.27 Million) recorded in 2015.

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