KENYA – Smallholder tea farmers affiliated with the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) have experienced a significant 15.2 percent growth in greenleaf production.  

This has translated into a notable 2.8 percent increase in KTDA tea sales, rising from 148 million kilos to 152 million kilos of processed tea compared to the same period last year. 

KTDA has attributed the increment in greenleaf production to the favorable weather conditions along with the application of subsidized fertilizer during the period. 

Wilson Muthaura, KTDA Group Chief Executive Officer, expressed the agency’s dedication to maximizing tea value and improving earnings for smallholder farmers.  

He stated, “We are working round the clock to push as much tea as possible working with other stakeholders, including government agencies. Our single focus remains improving the earnings for the farmers.” 

Farmers can anticipate higher returns, attributed in part to favorable foreign exchange rates, as the price of KTDA teas increased by 3 percent, rising from US$2.70 per kg to US$2.78 per kg. 

Despite challenges such as rising production costs and fluctuating demand in the global tea market, KTDA remains steadfast in its commitment to maximizing value for smallholder farmers.  

Muthaura affirmed, “We continue to work tirelessly to push as much tea as possible while exploring new markets and value-added opportunities.” 

Notably, factories in the West of Rift increased their rates from Ksh 20 to Ksh 24 per kilogram of green leaf, while those in the East of Rift increased their rate from Ksh 21 (US$0.15) to Ksh 25 (US$0.18)as of January 2024. 

KTDA reported that 763,208,762 kilos of Greenleaf were delivered to their factories during the last seven months (June 2023 to January 31st, 2024), compared to 662,565,605 million kilos delivered in the same period the previous year. 

This positive trajectory follows KTDA’s announcement in September 2023 of a record US$302.39 million final payout to smallholder tea farmers, lifting their total earnings for the year to an all-time high of US$463.7 million.  

This marked a 7.6 percent increase from US$ 430.75 million at the same time in 2022. 

The news comes soon after the government was looking to consider lowering the minimum tea prices for tea sold at the Mombasa auction in response to concerns about an excess of unsold tea consignments.  

The government aimed to address the unintended consequences of the reserve price through ‘price liberalization’ to unlock auctions, vital for the country’s second-highest foreign exchange earner. 

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