KENYA –   Kenya’s tea production is set to receive a major boost after key fertilizer arrived in the country in August for distribution to some 650,000 small scale farmers affiliated to factories managed by the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA). 

KTDA chairman David Gichoga says the 1.5 million bags consignment has docked in the post of Mombasa and will be distributed to farmers in the shortest time before the onset of the short rains. 

Speaking in Mombasa during an induction workshop for 54 tea factories on good corporate governance, Gichoga said there is need to maximize on available opportunities presented by the subsidized fertilizer to boost production. 

Gichoga urged farmers not to resell the subsidized fertilizers -which will retail at a cost of Ksh2500 (about US$23)-but use it to increase production. 

He said among other issues they discussed with the managers of the tea factories is improvement of infrastructure for safe transportation of tea, value addition, more marketing of tea and a sustainable economic activity to improve living standards of farmers. 

Joint-value addition facilities for tea  

Meanwhile, Industrialization and Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina has called on tea industry stockholders to consider establishing joint value addition facilities to cut operational expenses and improve earnings. 

The CS Maina who met East African Tea Traders Association (EATTA) officials on enhancing collaborations with the government said most of the value addition facilities owned by individual factories are incurring additional costs due to under-utilization despite the huge investments. 

The CS underscored the role played by the tea value chain in Kenya’s economy adding that tea earned Kenya Kshs. 120 billion (US$1.09 billion) in 2020 which is equivalent to 24% of the country’s total foreign exchange earnings. 

 The East African Tea Traders Association officials on their part urged producers to embrace the Mombasa Tea Auction and take advantage of its the proximity to the Port of Mombasa. 

Currently, the Mombasa Tea Auction trades over 450 million Kilograms of tea annually from an average of 650 million Kilos produced in ten countries within the Eastern and Central African region, of which 78% of the quantity.

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