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Kenya's tea production rises by 4.6 pct

07 August 2014, 17:42

Nairobi - Kenya's tea production rose by 4.6 percent in June to 31.9 million kilograms compared to 30.5 million in the same period in 2013, tea marketers said on Wednesday.

The Tea Board of Kenya (TBK) attributed the marginal increase in production largely to occasional light rainfall condition which was experienced in tea growing areas of Rift Valley, following which the region's output rose from 8.4 million kilograms to 11.3 million kilograms.

"However, owing to persistent cold weather conditions coupled with less rainfall, the output within the West of Rift decreased from 22.0 million kilograms recorded in June 2013 to 20.6 million kilograms," TBK chairperson Elizabeth Kimenyi said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

Due to lower output recorded during the month of February, the cumulative production for the first half of the year was 0.19 percent lower from 225.6 million kilograms recorded during the corresponding period of 2013 to 225.1 million kilograms.

Tea growing is also one of the highest employment providers in tea growing areas. About 600,000 small scale farmers provide the bulk of the exported tea and depend on it solely for their livelihood.

The total export volume for June reached 42.7 million kilograms compared to 42.3 million kilograms recorded same period of last year.

During the month, Kenya tea was shipped to 37 export destinations compared to 39 destinations for the same period of last year.

Egypt was the leading export destination for the Kenyan tea as the country imported 9.9 million kilograms, accounting for 23 percent of the total export volume.

For the six-month period of 2014, the emerging markets of U.A.E, Russia, Yemen, Kazakhstan and Somalia continued to record consistently higher growth and accounted for 27 percent of the total export volume.

However, the board said shipments to Britain and Afghanistan were much lower standing at 17 percent and 34 percent, respectively.

"This therefore signifies continued demand for Kenyan tea in emerging markets which will gradually reduce over-reliance on traditional markets and may subsequently lead to better price realization," it said.

- Xinhua

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