KENYA – Tea prices at the Mombasa auction rallied to their highest level in 8 years on the back of stabilising demand, a weakening shilling and abundant green leaf supply, data from the Central Bank of Kenya has revealed.

According to the data, the average price for Kenya’s tea exports rose for the third month to hit Ksh335,407 ($2,351) per tonne in May, the highest in nearly eight years. 

Total production of tea in the same month increased by 7.63 million kilogrammes to 57.88 million kilogrammes, benefitting from a good rain season.

The data further reveals that earnings from tea export grew by 33 per cent to Ksh16.17 billion (US$113.34 million) in May – the highest since March – up from Ksh12.17 billion (US$85.31 million) in April, supported by an increase in prices of the beverage.

“Though the month of May marks the cessation of the long rains over most parts of the country, rainfall recorded across the country was moderate and well distributed,” said Kenya Tea Board (KTB).

“In tea-growing areas in the west of Rift, Kericho received near-normal rainfall of about 82 percent of its long-term mean precipitation for the month while the rest of the region (Bomet, Kisii/Nyamira, and Nandi) recorded moderate rainfall.”

Tea production in the west of Rift Valley was higher by 5.22 million kilogrammes from 32.81 million kilogrammes recorded in May 2022 to 38.03 million kilogrammes this year.

Similarly, production within tea-growing areas East of the Rift Valley rose by 2.42 million kilogrammes from 17.43 million kilogrammes to 19.85 million kilogrammes.

In April, Kenya shipped tea to almost 43 countries, compared to 45 nations in a similar month last year. The tea export volumes, however, continued to be hampered by a shortage of foreign exchange reserves and conflicts in Kenya’s key export markets.

“Despite foreign reserves challenges, Pakistan maintained its position as the leading export destination for Kenya tea having imported 8.03 million kilogrammes, which accounted for 33 per cent of the total export volume,” said KTB.

Tea Board of Kenya technical officer James Marete confirmed that buyers are flocking to Kenya in search of orthodox tea, hence many factories are now factoring into adding another processing line that can make that type of tea.

The government has prioritized tea reforms to revitalize the export icon of the country and increase profits for the farmers.

 Efforts are underway to address issues such as price discovery, revenue distribution, and governance practices to ensure a more equitable and sustainable tea value chain.

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