KENYA – In a significant move to enhance value addition and expand the export market for Kenyan tea, Zonken Food and Agriculture Ltd, a Chinese firm, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Njeru Industries Ltd, a tea processor based in Meru County, central Kenya.  

The agreement aims to leverage Chinese expertise to improve the competitiveness of Kenyan tea in the global market. 

William Zhuo, chairman of the Kenya Chinese Chamber of Commerce, announced that Chinese tea experts will be sent to Kenya to impart knowledge on value addition techniques to local partners.  

“The MoU between Zonken Food and Agriculture Ltd and Njeru Industries Ltd will bring more value to the tea and export more to China,” Zhuo said.  

“We would like to use Chinese tea technology together with Kenya’s high-quality leaves to create the best tea and export it to China and other parts of the world.” 

Zhuo says that the partnership will facilitate the transfer of knowledge and technology between the two countries, potentially transforming Kenya’s tea subsector, which currently contributes about 23 percent to the nation’s foreign exchange earnings. 

Henry Njeru, managing director of Njeru Industries Ltd., expressed optimism about the collaboration, noting that it would provide the necessary skills, technologies, and expertise to add value to Kenyan tea for the international market.  

Njeru acknowledged the rich tea heritage of China, stating, “We have a lot to learn from the Chinese market and our Chinese counterparts on how to produce different teas. They have green and purple tea. Local manufacturers are looking for new markets, and China is a big market for us.” 

The partnership aligns with recent calls by Kenya’s President William Ruto for greater value addition in the tea sector to boost the country’s earnings from this vital commodity.  

The President recently unveiled plans for the government to work with a UK-based company to create a distinct Kenyan tea brand for international markets. This initiative aims to enhance the visibility and market value of Kenyan tea exports. 

President Ruto emphasized the importance of establishing a unique Kenyan tea brand with a mark of origin to differentiate the product in the global marketplace.  

He urged tea factory leaders to collaborate on developing common user facilities and set a goal to export at least 60 percent of processed and branded tea within three to five years. 

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