Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi assures farmers of more tea earnings
Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi says the government is working towards improving earnings from tea exports through value additions.
CS Linturi further promised the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in Mombasa to replace the current Export Promotion Zones (EPZ) in a bid to improve value addition to the Kenyan export tea.
The CS noted that Pakistan imports 52 percent of Kenyan tea, making it the country’s largest trade partner in the tea sector but the country is still facing challenges in maximizing the produce due to lack of value addition.
“Kenya is rated among the highest quality producers of tea worldwide with seventy-seven market destinations worldwide, but our export earnings are not higher compared to other countries like Sri Lanka and China who export their tea with added value,” CS Linturi said.
He spoke in Karachi, Pakistan during the Pakistan Tea Association annual gala event, where he applauded Pakistan for being Kenya’s leading tea export market.
The CS said Kenya will increase the farmers and exporters’ as well as earnings.
He also promised to remove the challenges the Kenya tea is facing in the international market through value addition.
“To circumvent these challenges, the Special Economic Zones may be a better scheme than the EPZ owing to numerous administrative, monetary and tax incentives.”
“The main reason for lower earnings from tea exports by Kenya compared to Sri Lanka and China, is selling in bulk as opposed to value added form. While Kenya tea exports in Value added form is about one percent that of Sri Lanka’s bulk is at about fifty-two percent.”
The Governor of Sindh region in Pakistan Kamran Tessori applauded the quality of the Kenyan tea.
“Tea is an essential commodity in Pakistan and we largely prefer the Kenyan tea due to its quality. We should however improve our trade relations for the benefit of both importers and exporters,” said the Governor.
According to the latest statistics, Kenya exported tea to Pakistan valued at Sh54 billion in 2021.
From the KTDA data, the tea being exported to Pakistan stands at 38 percent of the weekly sales, which is an average of 70 million kilograms of Kenyan tea annually.
This comes as Kenya seeks to boost its export products as the world recovers gradually from Covud-19 effects.
According to 2021 economic survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the tea exported dipped to 5.5 million metric tonnes from 5.7 million tonnes in 2020.
However, the country has been appealing to Kenyans to also consider exporting other products such as macadamia, avocado among others, saying that the market is available.