Kenya faces a fall in export of Tea due to global recession

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Farmers pick tea leaves at a tea plantation in Jiandong village, Maoping county of Yichang, Hubei province, March 22, 2020. Photo by Wang Gang, People’s Daily Online

The volume of Kenya’s tea exports shrunk by 18 per cent in the first seven months of 2023 as compared to the same period in 2022 as some key markets kept off the products due to the tough economic environment globally, the Tea Board of Kenya (TBK) said on Friday.

The TBK said in an industry report released in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, that export volumes stood at 224,807 tonnes, a decline from 274,830 tonnes in a similar period in 2022.

Russia, Sudan, and Iran are some of Kenya’s main markets that have maintained low participation in the country’s tea auctions or kept off altogether, according to the institution.

Between January and July, for instance, the TBK said Russia bought a paltry 8 tonnes of Kenyan tea, while Sudan and Iran absconded from auctions during some months.

“The global recession, which is largely attributed to the effects of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and the recent armed conflict in Sudan has affected tea exports in major markets,” the TBK said.

The situation for the East African nation has further been worsened by declining prices of the cash crop in the global market.

The TBK noted a kilo of tea went for an average of 2 dollars during the period, down from 2.4 dollars last year.

A weaker shilling against the dollar, has however, seen Kenya earn more from tea, with income rising to 671 million dollars in the seven months, an increase from 620 million U.S. dollars in the same period in 2022.

Tea is one of Kenya’s major foreign exchange earners, besides coffee, tourism, and horticulture, with the country earning 990 million U.S. dollars from the cash crop in 2022.

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