Tea production for the month of March 2020 in Kenya reached an all-time high of 55.7 million kilograms against 26.5 million kilos recorded during a similar month last year.
“Higher production was largely attributed to the onset of the long rain season characterized by high precipitation and sunny intervals that were experienced across the tea growing region areas in the west and east of the rift regions,” the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) said.
According to AFA, Kenya exported 44.28 million kilograms in the month to 46 export destinations compared to 43 markets in March 2019.
The top ten export destinations accounted for 86 percent of Kenya’s tea export volume.
“Pakistan was the leading export destination for Kenyan tea, having imported 14.27 million kilograms, accounting for 32 percent of the total export volume,” Anthony Muriithi, (AFA) Acting Director-general disclosed.
Egypt accounted for 16 percent of the total export volume of Kenya tea dropping from 7.8 million kilos in March 2019 to 7.1 million kilos this year.
Other market destinations that registered a decline include Afghanistan (39 percent), Iran (68 percent), Qatar (31 percent), Japan (66 percent) and China (31 percent).
The total export volume for the first three months of 2020 was 128.87 million kilograms, compared to 137.21 million kilograms recorded for the same period last year.
The low demand for the commodity in the global market coupled with high production locally impacted the low prices at the Mombasa Tea Auction.
In spite of the Coronavirus pandemic, UK, USA, and Italy recorded high imports during the review period.
“The United Kingdom, USA, and Italy that have been devastated by the effects of Covid-19 recorded an increase of 8 percent, 102 percent and 100 percent after importing 4.1 million kilogrammes, 460,000 kilos, and 4,600 kilos respectively during the review period.
Tea is Kenya’s second leading foreign exchange earner after horticulture. However, in 2019 tea production decreased by 6.9 percent to 458.5 thousand tonnes in 2019 from 493.0 thousand tonnes in 2018 according to the Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Economic Survey for 2019.
“The low production was mainly attributable to extreme weather phenomenon characterized by drought during the first half of the year.”
Further, during the year, the smallholder sub-sector recorded a 5.3 percent decrease in tea production from 272.5 thousand tonnes in 2018 to 258.1 thousand tonnes in 2019, while the estate sub-sector recorded a 9.0 percent decrease in tea production to 200.7 thousand tonnes during the review period.