Tea exports decline 8.5pc in two months on back of coronavirus pandemic

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 00:00 |
A small scale tea farmer picks tea. Photo/PD/File

Tea exports to various global destinations declined by the 8.5 per cent to 84.58 million kilogrammes during the January–February period, says Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA).

Total export volume for the period was 84.58 million kilos to 92.44 million kilos recorded the same period in 2019. 

AFA interim Director General Anthony Muriithi said that during the month of February, tea exports declined by 8.8 per cent to 40.58 million kilos compared to 44.51 million kilos in 2019.

The decline, he said, was caused by disruptions in some key market destinations such as Iran, Pakistan and Sudan over and above cupping of the dollar.

Even though it was the month when countries in Asia and Europe started recording high number of covid-19, Muriithi confirmed that Kenya tea was shipped to 48 export destinations compared to 47 destinations the same period last year.

“Among the markets, Pakistan was the leading export destination for Kenya tea having imported 14.2 million kilos accounting for 35 per cent of total exports,” said Muriithi in a tea report.  

Other key export endpoints include Egypt (8.4 million kilos) UAE (3.8 million kilos), UK (3.4 million kilos,), Sudan (1.9 million kilos) and Russia (1.5 million kilos).

UK is still importing substantial tea from Kenya despite its intention to leave the EU.

Exports to UK are still among the top 10. During the review period, 37.49 million kilos of Kenya tea was sold through the Mombasa tea auction against 34.40 million kilos recorded the same period last year.

“The average tea auction prices for Kenya tea for the month were $2.13 (Sh225.60 which was lower compared to $2.16 (Sh228.70) recorded in February 2019.  

 The average auction price for the period January -February 2020 stood at $2.21 per kilo compared to 2.24 per kilo for the same period last year,” said Muriithi who is also the interim head of tea doctorate.

Local sales also declined to 2.86 million kilos against 2.95 million kilos for 2019.  While cumulative tea consumption for the two months up to February was 5.80 million kilos against 6.56 million kilos for the same period of 2019. Production increased to 49.20 million kilos compared 31.44 kilos in 2019.

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