Lesotho could start buying Kenyan tea directly from local tea factories, Lesotho’s Minister for Agriculture Simon Litsane has said.
Mr Litsane, who was speaking yesterday during a visit to the Ngorogo Tea Factory in Kiambu, said his country would collaborate with the Kenyan government in the purchase of the tea.
“Lesotho doesn’t grow tea. We are amazed at what you Kenyans are doing. Our government is really interested in purchasing your black tea directly,” said Mr Litsane.
He also said his government would invite the management of Ngorogo to test soil in Lesotho to ascertain whether it was suitable for tea growing.
“The temperature here is almost the same as Lesotho’s, however, experts will advise if our soils are suitable for tea planting,” said Litsane.
He noted that tea growing can create jobs for Basotho the way it has for Kenyans.
Ngorogo Tea Factory General Manager George Mugo said he was excited that the Lesotho government was considering trading directly with local tea factories.
“We have also discussed an open trading window where we can export processed and bulk tea to the Lesotho market,” said Mr Mugo.
“The tea will reach Lesotho while very fresh.”
Kenya is one of the top tea exporters globally. Lesotho relies on tea from South Africa which is mainly herbal.
The Lesotho delegation is on a three-day visit to Kenya. It is led by Lesotho Prime Minister Motsoahae Thabane.
Earlier, Mr Thabane signed three bilateral trade agreements with President Uhuru Kenyatta. President Kenyatta said the agreements will mark a new chapter in trade between Lesotho and Kenya.
Mr Thabane applauded Uhuru’s leadership, saying Kenyan global policies are well aligned with those of the Kingdom of Lesotho.