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Kenya to export black tea to China

Kenya is seeking to export black tea to China following China’s increased interest in the commodity.

Ambassador-designate to China, Muthoni Gichohi, speaking during a tour of Nduti Tea Factory in Murang’a, said that although China is the largest consumer and exporter of green tea, consumption of black tea is also on the rise.

Gichohi, who was on a fact finding mission, observed that black tea, although untraditional in China, is gaining popularity and finding a market.

“I will engage private tea manufacturers to set up factories in Kenya, so as to produce tea for export that meets their standards,” she said.

She said that she is planning to introduce black tea to China to help strengthen Kenya-China bilateral relations by increasing Kenya’s exports to China, which will also improve Kenya’s economy.

The envoy noted that China is a very important and strategic partner to Kenya that the two countries have always collaborated on Information Communication and Technology (ICT), to boost a digital economy in Kenya and continue to work together in the development of regional transport on Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as well as creating a market of Kenyan agricultural products.

Even as Kenya seeks to export avocados and aquatic products, she promised to strive to look for a bigger market for Kenyan tea, coffee and other horticulture produce.

She was accompanied by Ambassador-designate to Pakistan, Nyambura Kamau.

Ms Kamau stated that Pakistan is the greatest importer of Kenyan tea while Kenya is one of the largest importers of Pakistani rice.

She noted that this is not enough because there are many other areas that could be exploited for diversification boosting bilateral trade.

Kamau said last year, Pakistan exported goods worth USD 249 million to Kenya with rice accounting for USD 155 million and the rest being pharmaceuticals, textiles and tractors, meanwhile tea accounted for 95 per cent of Kenya’s exports to Pakistan which stood at USD 502million in 2021 with the rest being vegetables, leather, chemicals, and fish.

Exportation of tea to Pakistan is anticipated to grow by 20 per cent in 2022 due to increased consumption and the exceptional taste and quality of Kenyan tea.

The two ambassador designates vowed to bring an equilibrium to the trade between the two countries, promising to help Kenya in technology transfer, so as to help the country realize industrialization and modernization.

The Chairperson of Nduti Tea Factory Board, Nancy Ndung’u, stated that they have trained the tea farmers on good husbandry.

“The farmers now know how to pick the best quality tea from the farm, so as to help the factory to process good quality tea for export and earn better returns.” She said.

Githinji Mwangi, a KTDA Board member, said Murang’a County has so far already produced 38 million kilograms of tea.

She added that KTDA has started promoting sustainable agriculture and that one major product that is coming on is Avocado which has a huge market.

By Purity Mugo

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