Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi has flagged Kenya’s first ever tea consignment of orthodox tea to Australia.
Linturi said the tea under the brand “Akina” is 2.6 metric tons valued at an estimated cost of Sh. 3.7 million.
He added that the tea is expected to fetch an average price of Sh.1, 375 per kilogram in Australia.
The CS noted that this is a major boost to the country’s economy as the price the same tea fetches in Kenya is about Sh.312 per kilogram from the auction.
He said the opening up of a Kenyan value added tea in Australia is an added advantage to the country’s tea industry.
“Our tea is only known in a few markets globally as it is used for blending with other tea brands from other countries. It is then packed for distribution to other markets under a different brand not traced back to Kenya,” said Linturi.
He lauded Empire private investors for coming in and planning with the government and increased the export of the value added tea from the current 2 percent to 50 percent in line with the aspirations of the President.
The CS noted that the opening up of the Kenyan tea to Australia market will help protect the local tea from over reliance on other markets.
He said the government is working towards making policies that will ensure tea farmers get better value for their product which will in turn fetch good revenue, adding that it will further offer support to tea farmers, buyers and exporters under the Tea Board of Kenya.
“There are several existing opportunities in the Kenyan tea market and as a government we are here to explore all avenues to increase capacity and be able to work with the private investors and ensure great investment comes from the value of our tea and markets that require our produce can be able to get it in finished form,” he said.
Linturi asked investors and key stakeholders to come in and invest in orthodox tea saying the demand for value added tea is very high.
“Currently, we have issues to do with our Pakistan and Egypt markets and the sooner we are able to create and open up markets the better for our farmers. This is a big relief and I hope out of this first export, our customers will have every reason to increase their order of our tea to Australia,” he said.
The CS noted that the country will meet the demand by inviting private investors to come and put in their capital saying through private investment the country is able to add value.
On his part, Chairman of the Tea Board of Kenya Dr. David Kiarie said that as a regulator they are responsible for sourcing for markets of the tea and ensure it is exported as value addition.
Kiarie said that the board appreciates the government’s effort for the new market noting that it is a start of a big boom in the tea industry.
“We want to promise that we are going to work hard with the ministry. We are going to promote tea and maintain being the best exporters of tea globally; to the investors in the sector, we are going to work together in attaining value addition which is the main agenda of the government,” he said.
By Chari Suche