Kenya in talks with China over speciality tea export deal valued at US$67.75m

KENYA – The government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Agriculture is in negotiations with tea buyers from China as the two parties seek to close a three-year speciality tea export deal valued at US$67.75 million (Sh7 billion).

Fuzhou Benny Tea Industry Company and the China National Forest Industry Federation Ecological Tea and Coffee Branch are in Kenya to discuss ways of boosting trade in specialty tea, a Business Daily update reveals.

The seven-member delegation is expected to sign memorandum of understandings (MoU) with five specialty tea processing factories by September 1 to pave way for exports of five million kilogrammes of speciality teas.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Mwangi Kiunjuri said the export volumes will increase to over 30 million kilogrammes annually, with an estimated value of US$387 million (Sh40 billion) in the next 10 years.

Mr Kiunjuri said that the deal will enhance tea trade and open the Chinese market for more Kenyan products.

“The desire was born out of the realisation that China is a leading buyer of teas from external origins, while Kenya is a renowned producer of top-quality teas,” said Mr Kiunjuri.

“Chinese buyers will provide a warehousing facility for any Kenyan tea company that would wish to sell their teas in China and assist them in promoting their products.”

According to Mr Kiunjuri, a quality sample submitted highlighted a need to have right kind of machinery and technical expertise to manufacture Kenyan teas that meet Chinese tastes and preferences.

“The Benny Tea Industry Company would provide manufacturing machinery and technical expertise to at least five factories in Kenya,” he noted.

Also present in the negotiations were officials from Agriculture Food Authority (AFA), the Tea Research Institute and the Purple Specialty Tea Association of Kenya.

Purple and Specialty Tea Association of Kenya Chairman Karanja Kinyanjui said deal would also ease marketing of the Kenyan commodity in the Asian country,

Ecological Tea and Coffee Branch of China National Forest Industry Federation Secretary-General Zhu Zhonghai added: “We hope this partnership will enable us source more specialty from Kenya as we proceed forward.”

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