Inside Politics

Afghanistan’s standoff worries tea exporters

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021 00:00 |
A small scale tea farmer picks tea. Photo/PD/File

Kenyan tea producers have expressed concern over the current political impasse in Afghanistan, a key export destination for the commodity.

They said if instability is not tamed in the Asian country, it might slightly tip volumes in the long term.

Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) while there is no market disruption at the moment if instability escalates in the country, it may affect tea export volumes in the long term.

“Even though the Asian country is not among the top 10 export destinations of Kenya tea, significant quantities of dry tea are exported there.

It is a crucial segment of the global tea market and we cannot be happy when it is unstable as the same with interrupt buyers,” KTDA chair David Ichoho said on phone yesterday.

“We are hopeful that peace will be restored to allow smooth trade flow,” he added.

This is after Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani fled last Sunday as the Taliban swept into Kabul capital following the announcement of withdrawal of US forces from the region.

The tea directorate estimates that export volumes to Afghanistan recorded a 74 per cent drop between January-May 2021 to 686,636 kilos compared to 2,596,262 kgs of dry tea shipped out the same period last year.

Buyers from the Central Asia country imported 134,648kg in the month of May 2021 compared to 200,920kg recorded the same period last year accounting a 33 per cent drop. 

The drop is largely attributed to effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which has continued to ravage most parts of the globe.

East African Tea Traders Association Managing director Edward Mudibo said it is still early to conclude that is disruption of tea exports to the country.  

Last week, during Sale 32 at Mombasa tea auction  average price remained constant at  $1.95 (Sh213.135).

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