The value of Kenya’s coffee exports fell in the first six months of this year as traders hoarded the produce after the global market tumbled, new data shows.
However, exports of tea and horticultural produce picked up, according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
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During the period under review, the value of coffee exports declined by nine per cent in the first half of 2018 to Sh13.8 billion compared with Sh15.2 billion last year.
Nairobi Coffee Exchange Chief Executive Daniel Mbithi said the decline in earnings was despite the fact that the amount of coffee sold through the exchange during the period increased.
He said other factors might explain the decline in the export earnings. “I don’t know much about the export market. According to me, we have sold more coffee,” said Mr Mbithi, noting that between October 2016 and July last year the coffee sold through the auction stood at 29,309 tonnes compared with 31,142 tonnes that were sold between October last year and July this year.
Mbithi said coffee prices in the world market plummeted, a fact that might have prompted traders to hoard the produce rather than sell it cheaply.
This was in contrast to the country’s other main export products - tea and horticulture - which earned the country Sh74.1 billion and Sh56.8 billion respectively.