The Ministry of Agriculture has signed a trade agreement with China to export Kenya’s Specialty tea which will earn her more foreign exchange.
According to the Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary (CS), Mwangi Kiunjuri, it has been the desire of the government in collaboration with other state agencies to pursue enhanced tea trade and in particular to access the Chinese market for more tea products from Kenya.
“This desire was born out of the realization that China is a leading buyer of teas from external origins, while Kenya is a renowned producer of top quality tea and during a recent Trade Mission by the Tea Directorate, the Kenyan team met and engaged the Benny Tea Company Chairman it emerged that there was need for the right kind of machinery and technical expertise to manufacture Kenyan teas that meet Chinese taste and references,” said Kiunjuri.
Speaking on Monday during the reception of the Chinese delegation to Kenya on tea trade, Kiunjuri said the Benny and Zhengzhou Two-straits Enterprise Management Company would provide tea manufacturing machinery and technical expertise to at least five tea factories in Kenya.
“The Chinese companies have assured that they will buy all teas produced through this arrangement and ship up to 5 million kilograms annually, valued at an estimated amount of Sh.7 billion in the first three years. This is expected to increase to over 30 million kilograms annually valued at an estimated Sh.40 billion within the next 10 years,” explained the CS.
The CS said Benny Tea and Zhengzhou Two-straits Enterprise Management Company will warehouse and market tea in China through their current channels which includes an electronic trading platform.
He added that the two companies will also provide a warehousing facility for any Kenyan tea company that would wish to sell their teas in China and assist them in promoting their products.
“Benny Tea and Zhengzhou Two-straits Enterprise Management Company will participate in Tea Exhibitions all over China marketing Kenyan tea. Any Kenyan company wishing to join them at their booth would be invited to participate without any charge,” said Kiunjuri.
The CS appreciated the donation of USD 150,000 presented by Zhengzhou Two-straits Enterprise Management Company Chairman, Zhang Hongchao towards the education sector within the tea producing zones in Kenya.
He assured that the donation would be utilized towards a good cause that will be beneficial to stakeholders in the tea industry value chain who are involved in the production of quality tea.
“Our company is 22 years and we have gained good experience in techniques to make quality Specialty tea. We wish to join hands with Kenya to sell their teas in China and assist them in promoting their products,” said Hongchao.
The Purple and Specialty Tea Association of Kenya (PSTAK) Chairman, Karanja Kinyanjui said that Kenya has good tea growing conditions but poor processing conditions and therefore lacks a proper market while China has pest eradicated tea growing regions and good processing conditions therefore the need to trade to improve the quality of the tea grown in Kenya.
Consequently, a seven-member delegation from the companies have been in Kenya since August 24 – September 1, 2019. They will identify areas and sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with several tea industry players including Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), PSTAK, KALRO Tea Research Institute, Karatina University and five Specialty Tea manufacturing factories.
By Charity Kanyoro/Pauline Okeng’a