Kenya signs Sh7bn specialty tea export deal with China

Kenyan farmers are set to export five million kilogrammes of specialty teas worth Sh7 billion to China in the next three years under a deal the State is negotiating with buyers from the Asian nation.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said the export volumes will increase to over 30 million kilogrammes annually, with an estimated value of Sh40 billion in the next 10 years.

Mr Kiunjuri yesterday hosted a delegation from Fuzhou Benny Tea Industry Company and the China National Forest Industry Federation Ecological Tea and Coffee Branch who are in Kenya to discuss ways of boosting trade in specialty tea.

The seven-member delegation arrived on August 24 and is expected to sign memorandum of understandings (MoU) with five specialty tea processing factories by September 1 to pave way for exports.

The Kenyan side include officials from Agriculture Food Authority (AFA), the Tea Research Institute and the Purple Specialty Tea Association of Kenya.

The deal, Mr Kiunjuri said, will enhance tea trade and open the Chinese market for more Kenyan products.

“The desire was born out of the realisation that China is a leading buyer of teas from external origins, while Kenya is a renowned producer of top quality teas,” said Mr Kiunjuri.

“They (Chinese buyers) will 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.”

Mr Kiunjuri said a quality sample submitted highlighted a need to have right kind of machinery and technical expertise to manufacture Kenyan teas that meet Chinese tastes and preferences.

“The Benny Tea Industry Company would provide manufacturing machinery and technical expertise to at least five factories in Kenya,” he said.

Purple and Specialty Tea Association of Kenya Chairman Karanja Kinyanjui said deal would ease marketing of the Kenyan commodity in the Asian giant, which has proved difficult in the past.

His sentiments were echoed by Ecological Tea and Coffee Branch of China National Forest Industry Federation Secretary-General Zhu Zhonghai.

“We hope this partnership will enable us source more specialty from Kenya as we proceed forward,” Mr Zhonghai said.

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