Kenya is looking to tap new European tea buyers in a move to expand its market and foster its relationship with the existing markets.
Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) is leading the country in marketing brands at the International Tea Trade Workshop in London. The forum has attracted leading tea retailers, traders, and packers from across the UK and Europe.
KTDA is owned by 650,000 small-scale Kenyan farmers and it exports over 300 million kilos of tea annually, predominantly black CTC tea. KTDA chairman David Ichoho said the agency is now exporting more and more specialty teas like purple, white, green, and orthodox teas which fetch a higher premium in the global market.
Most of the Kenyan tea is destined for Pakistan, taking up 38 percent of the total weekly sales. According to industry data, Pakistan buys an average of up to 70 million kilograms of Kenyan tea annually. Last year Kenya exported tea valued at $503 million to Pakistan. It is followed by Egypt (18%), the UK(9%), UAE, and Russia, to close the top five list.
Tea is among Kenya’s leading exports and has been hailed for earning the country high revenue alongside the horticulture sector. The prices of the commodity have been dwindling in recent months, on account of various factors such as low demand from key buyers, as well as the Russia-Ukraine crisis which affected shipping.
In June Pakistan announced that it would cut tea consumption, citing financial uncertainties. Despite all these disruptions, this year Kenyan tea has managed to remain above two dollars per kilo as compared to last year when the prices ranged between $1.80 (Sh 215.28 ) and $1.90 (Sh 227.24 ).
The 2021 economic survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows that the amount of tea exported dipped to 5.5 million metric tonnes from 5.7 million tonnes in 2020 owing to the effects of the covid 19 pandemic. It accounted for about 19.6 percent of the total domestic exports valued at 130.9 billion shillings.
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