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Mombasa tea auction set for automation

BUSINESS
By Reuters | Jan 21st 2016 | 1 min read
By Reuters | January 21st 2016
BUSINESS

The country will this year begin to automate trading at its weekly tea auction of regional produce to increase transparency in dealings, the chairman of the East African Tea Traders Association (EATTA), which runs the sale, said yesterday.

Kenya's hosts the world's biggest tea auction, selling produce from nine African nations, including from Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi and Mozambique. Ethiopia is due to join in March. The country, which is the world's top producer of black tea, earns about $1 billion a year from exports, according to EATTA, making it one of the nation's main sources of foreign exchange earnings.

Complete automation of the auction would be completed in 2017 but the first phase would be in place this year, EATTA Chairman Nick Munyi said. "We are changing from the normal way of knocking the hammer to clicking the mouse," Munyi said by phone from the port city of Mombasa, where the 60-year old auction is based.

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