Farmers to benefit from China-Kenya Tea Trade Centre

Nyansiongo Tea Factory Director Monica Orwochi leads her workers in plucking tea on her Ribwago farm, Borabu in Nyamira County on May 6, 2024. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

The cooperation between Kenya and China in the tea sector received a boost after the launch of the China-Kenya Tea Trade Centre. 

Speaking at the event, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi said the launch will positively change Kenya's tea market share in China.

"The smallholder farmer is set to benefit from the cooperation as Benny Tea will support Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) and independent tea producer factories with equipment and technology transfer," he said.

The launch culminated in the signing of a partnership between the Kenyan Orthodox and Specialty tea manufacturers and Benny tea/ Fujian StarChina Tea Company-China.

Linturi regretted that in the past Chinese traders and consumers have not been able to purchase large volumes of Kenyan Orthodox tea products.

This, he said was due to the inability of Kenyan Specialty tea manufacturers to meet Chinese tea market requirements in regard to leaf and liquor appearance.

"This deficiency has been attributed to market access challenges and lack of appropriate manufacturing equipment and technical capacity needed to produce the kind of tea that would appeal to the Chinese market," said Linturi.

He said the partnership provides an opportunity to radically transform the livelihoods of Kenyan farmers as the cooperation grows over the next three years.

"I challenge both the Chinese and Kenyan partners in this project to ensure that within three years from this date, this cooperation achieves at least five million kilos of tea traded between both partners annually," said Linturi.

The launch follows a 2019 courtesy call by the chairman of Benny Tea/Fujian StarChina International Trade to the CS.

The chairman, was in the country for a visit to the Kenyan Specialty Tea Industry at the Invitation of Tea Board of Kenya.

During the visit, they agreed to prepare and sign a Memorandum of Understanding that will provide collaboration framework to facilitate tea trade between Kenya and China. 

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