KENYA – Kenya’s President William Ruto has announced the allocation of Kes1 billion for the construction of two value addition and branding centers for Kenyan tea. 

Speaking at the launch of the new Chai Gold brand in Kericho, Ruto directed the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to establish Common User Facilities (CUF) in Kericho and Nairobi.  

These centers aim to enhance value addition and branding in locally manufactured tea products, serving the Western Rift and Eastern Rift tea growing regions, respectively. 

“We are now moving to the next level where we are adding value, creating jobs, creating wealth,” Ruto stated. “The more we sell branded, processed tea, the bigger the earnings, the more the jobs we create, and the more enterprises we foster.” 

Chai Gold, the newly launched flagship tea brand of the KTDA, targets the international market.  

President Ruto highlighted the current branding situation, noting that only 5 percent of Kenya’s annual tea production was branded by 2022. He emphasized that the launch of Chai Gold marks a significant step forward in increasing tea branding efforts. 

“In the last two years, branded Kenyan tea has increased from 5 percent to 9 percent. With the establishment of CUF, we are hopeful it will reach 20 percent in the next two years,” Ruto said. “Our ultimate aim is to increase the value addition of tea to 5 million kilogrammes annually.” 

The President urged the KTDA management to upgrade their facilities, automate processes, and support smaller factories in adding value and branding their teas.  

“I want you to find ways of supporting our micro and small enterprises to take advantage of this common user facility so that we can expand the branding and value addition that is already going on,” he added. 

Ruto also called for diversification into the orthodox tea brand, currently produced by only 13 factories.  

He reiterated his administration’s commitment to reducing the importation of food, which costs the country Kes500 billion (US$3.86B) annually, despite the potential for local production. 

This announcement comes as Kenya plans to export its first consignment of tea to China by the end of this month, following the launch of the China-Kenya Tea Trade Centre in Fujian Province.   

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

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industryHERE