Kenyan tea exports dip by 6% in the first quarter affected by the Covid-19 pandemic

KENYA – Kenyan Tea exports in the first quarter of the year 2020 fell by six per cent from 137 million kilos recorded in 2019 to 128 million kilos, according to the Tea Directorate.

Tea exports to top three markets declined significantly i.e. Pakistan by 15 percent while Egypt and the United Kingdom recorded declines of 10 percent each, as the world grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on global trade.

Pakistan, Kenya’s main market for tea, saw its import volumes decline to 42 million kilos from 49.3 million kilos in the previous quarter. Egypt registered a decline of 2.8 million kilos with the UK shedding 1.3 million kilos, reports Business Daily.

The average auction price in the review period stood at Sh225 (US$2.10) a kilo down from Sh233 (US$2.18) in the previous quarter.

“Lower prices at the auction were attributed to increased supply coupled by depressed demand in the global tea markets occasioned by disruption and restrictions of movement due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the directorate.

East African Tea Traders Association (Eatta) managing director Edward Mudibo said the demand at the auction, previously driven by panic buying, has now gone down.

“In the last eight weeks prices at the auction have registered a mixed bag. In the latest auctions, they have been down on account of reduced demand but it is important to note that the volumes withdrawn from the auction floor have gone down,” he said.

Mr Mudibo said the auction performance trends over the initial past four sales have kept on improving despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, but there has been a slight decline in prices in the last one month.

High demand in the world market had boosted Kenyan tea last month following a lockdown in India, which supplies more than two million kilos globally. Kenya moved in to fill the void, a move that saw a kilo of tea shoot to an average of Sh224, the highest this year.

In other related news, Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited (KTDA) has made a Kshs 20 Million cash donation towards the Kenya COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund as part of its efforts to support initiatives aimed at helping mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic in the country.

According to a report by KBC, the donation is drawn from all 69 factories across the country, which are managed by KTDA, as well as from a section of KTDA Holdings subsidiaries which operate in the tea value chain.

The subsidiaries include KTDA Management Services, KETEPA, Chai Trading Company Limited, Majani Insurance Brokers and Green Land Fedha Limited.

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