KENYA – Tea farmers in the western region of Kenya are set to benefit from a US$2.97million (Shs 300 million) state-of-the-art tea processing factory from a United Kingdom-based investor in a move to rejuvenate the tea sector in the region.
The tea factory will be the second in the western region in addition to Mudete Tea Factory located in Vihiga County.
According to a report by The Standard, Wycliffe Oparanya, Kakamega County Governor, said that construction works of the factory will commence in three months and upon completion will boost growth of the county’s economy.
To ensure sustainability of the venture, Oparanya noted that the county government has already started distribution of free tea seedling to farmers in the region in a move to ensure sufficient supply inputs to the factory.
The governor said that tea farmers had also entered into an agreement with the county government in which they would be allowed to buy up to 30% stake in the new factory.
The farmers will supply the commodity to the firm through their cooperative unions and will in turn leverage on that to buy shares in the firm.
Kakamega County is also known for the production of the lucrative purple tea, a drought-resistant cultivar, which has been noted to draw competitively high prices in the international market.
Tea Auction Market
The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) and the Rwandan teas have in the recent past emerged the best beverages at the Mombasa auction, fetching more money compared with teas from of other origin.
According to a Business Daily report, Rwandan tea at the Mombasa auction fetched (US$2.56) Sh258 per kilo followed by KTDA at (US$2.24) Sh226 for the same quantity.
Traders at the action have however noted that the quality of Rwandan tea has always been high which has subsequently resulted into the beverage attracting a premium price of all the regional teas marketed at the Mombasa auction by the East African Tea Traders Association (EATTA).
Despite the continued decline in average price of the commodity to a low of Sh196, Kenya still remains to be the leading tea exporter in the world as well as at the auction in terms of volumes with more than 75% of the produce traded at the auction originating from the country.
Meanwhile, JuarJapan Co., Ltd., one of Japan’s main importers of Kenyan tea has launched a medicinal tea supplement called “Juaardhi Super Catechin Capsule” which is expected to be available in the market in May, 2019.