Kenya eyes China as tea exports fall

Kenya eyes China as tea exports fall

Mkulima today Kenya is one of the leading exporters of fresh tea leaves to the international market. Kenya eyes China as tea exports fall.

But this is being challenged by global forces and the COVID 19 pandemic is not helping the situation is not getting any better.

To counter this effect the leading minds and large companies in the tea export value chain are now looking east in order to save their bottom lines.

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China is not among the top destinations for Kenya’s tea exports but it is about time to set a strong foot in the backyard of the world’s largest producer of tea.

But it is seen as a good starting point and one of the largest regions with the greatest growth potential in line with the growing demand for black tea.

This comes with the growing popularity of taking milk tea creating more demand for black tea as compared to the green tea they produce.

Location

Kenya has set sights on opening up a distribution center in China’s Wuyishan region.

This is where some of the world’s most expensive teas are grown and Kenya is about to join the exclusive club.

All this is in the wake of falling demand for Kenyan tea in the Asian economy and the second-largest economy in the world.

The value of Kenyan tea exports to the Asian country fell by more than a third last year despite the rising popularity of milk tea which has increased demand for black tea leaves, according to trade statistics.

The Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (Keproba), says it’s looking at “a dedicated Centre for Kenya in Wuyi” as part of the strategy to help small- and medium-sized enterprises “get their footings in the vast Chinese market”.

Keproba

The Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (BRANDKE) is a new State Corporation established under the State Corporations Act Cap 446 through Legal Notice No.110 of August 9th, 2019

Earnings

Kenya earned $3.17 million (Sh343.59 million ) from the sale of black fermented and partly fermented tea to the world’s largest tea market in the year ending 2019.

A 34.05 per cent drop compared with a year earlier, as per the data kept by the International Trade Centre (ITC) show.

The drop in sales marked the first drop since 2016 when Kenya’s shipments amounted to $1.77 million (Sh191.85 million), before climbing to $2.5 million (Sh270.97 million) in 2017 and $4.81 million (Sh521.35 million) in 2018.

All the statistics from the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations further indicate.

Competition

Kenya eyes China as tea exports fall Keproba, the parastatal tasked with marketing Kenyan goods abroad said, the sale of tea in the world’s most populous country, just like other fresh produce, has been hurt by an internal market that has an inbuilt capacity for the supply of commodities and creation of demand for products produced in China.

Although China is the world’s largest producer of tea, it has increased the importation of black tea in recent years on the back of increasing consumption of creamy (milk) tea blends which the country’s predominantly green tea cannot do.

This has caught the interest of the world’s leading black tea producers: India, Kenya, and Sri Lanka.

News reports indicated Sri Lanka exported a record 11.8 million kilos of tea to China in 2019, driven by the rising consumption of milk tea.

A Chinese delegation from Fuzhou Benny Tea Industry Company and the China National Forest Industry Federation Ecological Tea visited Kenya in August last year to scout for deals for the export of Kenya’s specialty tea.

Credits: CONSTANT MUNDA Business Daily

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