Kenya's 2013 tea output expected to increase
02 October 2013, 14:17
Nairobi - Kenya's tea exports hit 336.7 million kg in the first eight months of 2013, compared to that of 278.1 million kg in 2012, an industry regulator said on Tuesday.
"We are therefore projecting that Kenya's tea exports for 2013 to reach 480 million kilograms for 2013, up from 430 million kilograms in 2012, a 12 percent increase," Magara said.
He said that local tea production since the beginning of the year has jumped by almost 30 percent as production was 278.1 million kg compared to 2012's 214.4 million kg.
Kenya's exports exceed local production as it is a major transshipment country for tea from landlocked eastern Africa tea producing countries.
According to the Tea Board of Kenya (TBK), Kenya's tea production for 2013 will reach 415 million kilograms, which represents a 12 percent increase from 2012's production of 369 million kg.
"Expanded production levels will be fueled mainly by prevailing favorable weather in the major tea producing areas," he said.
He noted that 2013 has so far witnessed an unprecedented increase in the global production of tea. "The monsoon season led to high rainfall levels in both Kenya and the Asian tea producing nations," Magara said.
"Since January, most of the black tea producing countries have recorded higher production of between 0.12 to 7.45 percent compared to the previous year," he said.
According to TBK, the tea industry earned 953 million U.S. dollars from exports from January to August, up from 817 million dollars in the same period in 2012.
"If the current trend continues, 2013 tea export earnings are expected to hit 1.42 billion dollars, a nine percent increase from 2012's 1.3 billion dollars," the TBK official said.
Kenya's major export tea markets include Pakistan, Egypt, Britain, Afghanistan and Sudan.
"Together they absorb 71 percent of all the exports," he said. In order to diversify our markets, we want to increase exports to other markets such as Russia, Ukraine Kazakhstan, U.S.A. as well as Canada," TBK said.
Magara noted that they are currently conducting a study on how to enter the west and central African markets.
He added that global demand is growing more or less at the same rate as supply, due to the rapid increase in the per capita income in the major tea drinking nations.
Magara said that the average tea prices for 2013 have been affected by the political unrest in Egypt, which is a major importer of tea.
"Kenya's tea prices also experienced downward pressure in early 2013 due to increased production combined with overstocking by buyers prior to the run-up to the March 2013 Elections," the Acting Managing Director said.
He added that prices in the major global tea auctions have also been lower in 2013 compared to 2012. "In fact, the price of Kenya's tea in U.S. dollars has reduced by 15 percent while India's fell by seven percent," he said.
The TBK official noted that local consumption of tea was 15.7 million kg for the first eight months of this year compared to 12. 3 million kg in a similar period in 2012.
"The 27 percent rise, was as a result of increased promotion of tea consumption in Kenya," he said.
TBK is also in the process of implementing an industry curriculum that will ensure uniform nationwide standards for tea production.