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Kenya to export one million kilos of tea to China as it eyes Sh211b

Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) signed an MOU with Benny Tea of China on technology transfer and marketing. [File, Standard]

The first consignment of Kenyan tea is expected to be shipped to China by the end of this month.

This follows the government’s launch of the China-Kenya Tea Trade Centre in Fujian Province of China to facilitate distribution of Kenya tea to the Asian country in May this year.

According to the Tea Board of Kenya (TBK), it is expected that by the end of the year, one million kilogrammes of Orthodox teas under the arrangement will have been shipped to the Asian giant.

Within the same period, Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Benny Tea of China on technology transfer and marketing.

“All the teas manufactured under this arrangement will have guaranteed market access to China through Benny Tea,” reads a statement by TBK.

During the signing of the MOU, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi said the launch would positively change Kenya’s tea market share in China.

“The smallholder farmer is set to benefit from the cooperation as Benny Tea will support KTDA and independent tea producer factories with equipment and technology transfer,” Linturi said.

TBK announced that plans are underway to establish warehousing facilities for value-added tea in the target markets.

Specifically, the board targets the markets of Ghana, DRC Congo, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to ease distribution of value-added teas.

“Logistical support through concessionary airfreight cargo charges will also be provided for value-added tea exports to warehouses in African, North American export trading hubs facing market access. Similar initiatives will be pursued in Russia and Iran markets, respectively.”

Chai Gold

TBK said KTDA will next week unveil Chai Gold as a national brand for the country to the international market.

This is in line with the directive issued by President William Ruto on branding Kenyan tea to drive value addition.

The board attributes the success to the initiatives put in place by the government to revitalise the tea sector in the country.

“Owing to government interventions on market access and promoting value addition and market access, tea exports earning this year to May is 28 per cent (Sh19.55 billion) higher - from Sh68.73 billion to Sh88.28 billion,” reads the statement in part.

“By the end of the year, we expect export earnings to rise from Sh180.57 billion last year to Sh211.27 billion. This is Sh30.70 billion more than what the industry earned in 2023,” reads the statement.

The tea agency projects the earnings of smallholder tea farmers to rise to a minimum of Sh64 per kilo of green leaf from Sh59.02 by the end of the year.

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