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Tea Sector Posts Decline in Exports for First Eight Months

Tea exports fell by 14,000 tons in the first eight months of this year due to a drop in demand from traditional markets.

Data from the Tea Directorate shows export volumes for Kenyan tea for the period between January to August dropped from 337,000 tons in 2019 to 323,000 tons in 2020.

The global tea market size was valued at 55 billion dollars in 2019, and is projected to reach 69 billion dollars in seven years’ time.

The sector is expected to register an annualized growth rate of 6.6% from 2020 to 2027.

However, the industry is expected to register less growth this year occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has depressed demand in world consumption markets.

The effect is now being felt in Kenya where export volumes dropped by 14 thousand tons in the first eight months of this year.

Data from the tea directorate show that the drop was a result of a 7% drop in exports to Pakistan and a 14% drop in exports to Egypt the country’s  two top buyer of the produce.

Pakistan remains Kenya’s largest market, shipping about 36% of the total production.

Kenya is the world’s leading producer and exporter of black tea and it has been diversifying to green and purple tea that fetches premium returns on the global market.

Despite the fall in export volumes, production in the eight months grew by 33% to stand at 375,000 tons against 281,000 tons in the same period in 2019.

Earnings from the black tea exports increased by 22% in H1 2020 to hit Ksh 69 billion shillings compared to Ksh56.5 billion for the same period last year.

The directorate expects a slight improvement in exports going forward as the world recovers from the pandemic.

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