Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture said on Saturday that plans are in the works to begin transporting tea from the hinterland to the port city of Mombasa through Chinese-built Standard Gauge Railways (SGR).
Peter Munya, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives said the SGR provides a cheaper, safe and efficient means of transporting the commodity from Kenyan highlands to the port of Mombasa for export to overseas markets.
This will lead to significant savings and consequently enhance growers’ earnings,” Munya said at a briefing in Nairobi. He called on smallholder tea producers to explore competitive rates for transportation of the green leaf to the storage facilities.
Kenya has witnessed a sharp decline in tea prices at the Mombasa tea auction in the last few weeks due to the overproduction of the commodity.
Munya said that this is a threat to the livelihoods of over 620,000 smallholder farmers and the country’s socio-economic growth since the smallholder sub-sector accounts for about 56 percent of the national production.
He said the government is exploring the use of existing storage facilities around the smallholder tea factories to enable them to store the green leaf as opposed to rushing to the market.
Kenya produced about 569 million kilograms of tea last year compared to 458 million kilograms in 2019. Enditem