by Peter Mutai
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s tea is
currently fetching low prices at the international market due to
oversupply, an industry expert said on Friday.
Mudibo, managing director of East African Tea Trade Association
said that farmers have been producing large quantity of tea
leaves that can hardly fetch good prices at the international
"Most farmers have embarked on rehabilitating aged and
neglected bushes hence the increment of kilograms of tea,"
Mudibo told journalists in Nairobi.
He said that due to the prevailing low prices of tea, most
producers are not able to manage production costs.
According to Mudibo, the trend is likely to lead to low
returns to the multinational tea companies and the Kenya Tea
Development Agency Holdings Ltd. that represents small scale
He said that the demand for tea in Pakistan and Egypt where
Kenya exports 40 percent and 15 percent of tea respectively has
also been reduced due to economic challenges that the two
countries are currently experiencing.
"The British market that is the third largest importer of
Kenyan tea has also been unpredictable due to uncertainties
associated with Brexit," said Mudibo.
He also revealed that the quality of Kenya’s tea has declined
due to weak enforcement of regulations put in place by the
government, leading to mushrooming of new tea factories and leaf
"The tea trade has been slow to adapt from marketing tea as a
tradition- and culture-based products to marketing tea for its
health and wellness benefits," said Mudibo.
He blamed the price decline on levying of value added tax on
direct sales by local exporters and lack of adequate
consumer-driven research and promotional activities.
Mudibo said that to ensure sustainability of the tea
industry, there is need to encourage local tea consumption and
enhance promotion in new and emerging markets.
In 2018, the Mombasa auction recorded sales of 458 million
kilograms of Kenyan tea, making the amount the highest volume
ever sold at the auction.
The volumes so far traded this year have maintained the same
volumes as last year’s, meaning that 2019 will be another year
of high auction volumes though prices remain low.