CS seeks help for tea exporters

Foreign Affairs Cabinet secretary Amina Mohammed speaks to the press at Harambee House yesterday. Standing next is Statehouse spokesman Manoah Esipisu. PHOTO/GEORGE MULALA
 Foreign Affairs Cabinet secretary Amina Mohammed speaks to the press at Harambee House yesterday. Standing next is Statehouse spokesman Manoah Esipisu. [PHOTO: GEORGE MULALA/STANDARD]
Kenya: Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has expressed concern over the challenges facing Kenyan tea exporters in Iran.

She said tea is currently one of Kenya’s main exports to Iran, making up nearly 20 per cent of Iran’s total imports but the exporters face difficulties in transferring proceeds to Kenya.

“I appeal to the Iranian Government to explore ways of addressing the challenges faced by Kenyan tea exporters especially with regard to repatriation of profits,” Ms Mohamed (pictured) said.

Speaking in Tehran, Iran when she met her Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Cabinet Secretary (Pictured) reiterated that tea traders are subjected to rigorous inspection and certification processes in Iran despite conforming to good manufacturing certification.

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 Mohamed said the concerned authorities in Iran should ease the difficulties encountered by exporters by streamlining financial intermediation and the certification processes, adding that delays in receiving payments for tea shipments should be a thing of the past

The Cabinet Secretary expressed gratitude to the government of Iran for extending to Kenya Sh441 million under the official development assistance to enable the Kenya Government to conclude scheduled projects under health, education and water, among other infrastructure projects.

She also called on Iran to lend a hand to the Kenyan Government in stabilising Somalia to ensure that its government is able to confront acts of terror by Al Shabaab insurgents.

“We seek your support and that of the international community to strengthen the capacity of the Somalia Government to enable it to meet the security challenges posed by the Al Shabaab,” said Amina.

Zarif attributed the issue of payments for tea shipments to the punitive economic sanctions imposed on the country by Western countries.

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He expressed optimism for a favourable outcome in the ongoing nuclear talks in Geneva which would lead to the lifting of sanctions that have impeded transnational transactions.

Zarif gave an assurance that the Government of Iran is ready to explore various alternatives to address the challenges in the best way possible under the prevailing circumstances.

“We also face the threat of terrorism and extremism and we are ready to co-operate with Kenya in addressing this shared challenge,” he added.

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Amina Mohamed Foreign Affairs tea