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Trade Ministry to work with Embassies in expanding Tea Markets

Trade and Investment Principal Secretary Alfred K’Ombudo has said his Ministry is in the process of developing a tea marketing strategy that will enable expansion of consumption beyond the current USD 40 million.

The PS, who addressed participants at a Tea Reforms Conference in Kericho on Friday, said this is after Kenya signed an agreement with the European Union two weeks ago that gave the country direct market access to 27 European countries.

The PS explained that expansion into new markets will cushion Kenyan smallholder tea farmers against geopolitical instabilities facing some of the traditional markets like Sudan, Russia, and Pakistan, among others.

“In accessing Africa through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), we need to rework logistics, which is the main impediment. That will ensure efficiency in reaching this market of about 1.3 billion people,” added K’Ombudo.

AfCFTA, which is a trade agreement with a comprehensive scope including digital trade and investment protection, aims to significantly boost intra-Africa trade in value-added production and trade across sectors of Africa’s economy.

The PS also added that “Special economic zones like Dongo Kundu in Mombasa can be considered in the manufacture of affordable tea packing materials to reduce the cost for the farmer.”

The two-day Tea Reforms Summit 2023 was held at Kericho Golf Club, bringing together tea stakeholders from across the country to deliberate on key reforms that would enable tea farmers to gain from the precious commodity.

By Kibe Mburu

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