KENYA – Lipton Teas and Infusions Limited has announced its plans to start selling its Kibeho Garden Mark Tea through the Mombasa auction starting Tuesday.  

This strategic move is expected to create significant economic opportunities for tea farmers in Rwanda and stakeholders along the value chain. 

“The upcoming auction on June 18, 2024, will mark the first sale of Lipton Teas and Infusions Rwanda Limited’s teas at the Mombasa auction, representing a significant achievement for the company and the region,” said Sylvia Ten Den, Head of Plantations, Africa, at Lipton Teas and Infusions. 

The sale follows the completion of the Kibeho Tea Factory, which has enabled the company to begin full-scale production. The company has steadily grown since planting the first tea bushes in 2016 following an agreement between Lipton Teas and Infusions and the Rwandan government. 

Currently, the factory receives green leaf from more than 2,500 smallholder farmers across the Nyaruguru district in Southern Province of Rwanda. This number is expected to grow to over 7,000, impacting 30,000 lives across the tea supply chain. 

The auction process is anticipated to facilitate cross-border trade and create substantial commercial opportunities for several industry players, including farmers, transporters, traders, and exporters in Kenya and Rwanda.  

“This is a win-win for everyone involved. Rwandan tea farmers will gain access to a wider market and potentially higher prices through the Mombasa auction,” said Ten Den. 

In addition to market access, the company is leading the development of a self-sustaining ecosystem for green and low-nitrogen fertilizers in the region. 

This initiative aims to reduce production costs for growers and accelerate the industry’s progress toward net-zero carbon emissions. 

Rebecca Miano, Kenya’s Investment, Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary, praised the collaboration between Kenya and Rwanda in promoting sustainable tea farming.  

“In Kenya, sustainability is at the core of our agricultural practice. The Kenyan government continues to support initiatives that promote high standards and sustainable practices, ensuring our tea remains the benchmark for excellence,” said Miano. 

Tea exports are a vital part of Kenya’s economy, contributing approximately 23 percent of total export earnings and employing more than three million people, both directly and indirectly.  

“The introduction of the Kibeho Garden Mark Tea into the Mombasa auction will undoubtedly facilitate cross-border trade and create substantial commercial opportunities for several industry players,” Miano added. 

Kenya to import tea to China

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. 

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