Kenya’s international tea exports stagnated due to poor demand despite the doubling of the annual tea output from 18.4 million kgs in February 2012 to 38.5 million kgs in February 2013.
Tea Board of Kenya Managing Director Sicily Kariuki said Thursday the increased local production of the commodity was largely buoyed by good weather, which enabled small scale farmers to more than double production.
The small-scale tea farmers boosted tea output from 11.7 million kgs to 23.2 million kgs in February 2013, while tea plantations, which produce in large-scale farms, nearly tripled output from 6.6 million kgs to 15.2 million kgs.
According to the Tea Board, the amount of tea exported to some 40 countries was much lower than the annual output.
Despite finding four new export markets, tea exports stood at 42.9 million kgs in February 2013, much lower than the 44.7 million kgs the East African nation exported to some 36 countries worldwide in 2012.
The Tea Board attributed the lower tea sales to poor demand from some seasonal markets, but the five main markets, which account for 75% of all the tea sales, remained constant.
Egypt has since overtaken the key markets of Pakistan and Afghanistan to become the top market, singlehandedly importing 23% of all the tea exports, followed by Pakistan, which imported 10 million kgs.
The United Kingdom imported 6.4 million kgs and Afghanistan imported 3.3 million kgs.