In the latest data provided by the Tea Board of Kenya indicate that the country has usurped the throne of Sri Lanka for the first time as the biggest tea exporter in the world. While Kenya exported 342mn kg last year Sri Lanka could only supply 280mn kg to the world tea market during the same period.
Sicily Kariuki, the MD of Tea Board of Kenya said at a recent Kenya-UAE Trade Symposium held in Nairobi that her country had dislodged Sri Lanka as the leading tea exporter last year and hoped it would continue maintaining the same position in the coming years. She also informed Kenya weathered in the global tea market despite severe drought and oversupply price pressure owing to country’s efforts in research and development which produced 50 varieties of tea suitable to be grown in the seven growing regions.
On the contrary, last season’s tea production in Sri Lanka was badly affected by parched weather that damaged crop and wage dispute. However, Sri Lankan Tea Board is reported to be positive about this year’s yield and exports as the climate is forecasted to be conducive for tea plantations across the country.
Though India produces more tea than Kenya, the former is most unlikely to beat the latter in exports as its domestic needs are quite higher than what is available for external supplies, just about 25 percent of the total. The Kenyan tea has been exported to the UK, Pakistan, Egypt and Sudan apart from other 43 countries.
Tea which has attained the new image in Kenya as the highest revenue earner is believed to be attracting many into this field. About 150,000 hectares of land are currently under the crop yielding, and produces an average of 11,000 kg of green leaf per hectare. At the meet, Kariuki apprised that out of the 40 percent of all global tea bags used in making the popular beverage, at least 10 percent of its content came from Kenya.
By Jose Roy