Bad weather slows down Kenya tea output
Posted Tuesday, June 19 2012 at 19:40
Tea production in Kenya dropped by 14 per cent in the first three months of 2012 because of drought and frost attacks.
Data from the Tea Board of Kenya (TBK) shows that the industry produced 72.4 million kilogrammes of tea in the first quarter compared to 85.1 kilogrammes during a corresponding period last year.
Western Kenya led the areas where production dropped the most because of bad weather.
Tea production in the region dropped by 18 per cent from 51.6 million kilogrammes in the first three months of 2011 to 42.1 million kilogrammes this year.
TBK managing director Sicily Kariuki said production east of the Rift Valley fell by 9.7 per cent from 33.5 million kilogrammes to 30.2 million kilogrammes.
“Low tea production was due to severe hot and dry weather conditions experienced in the three months of 2012 where frost attacked tea bushes,” Ms Kariuki said.
The board said Kenya exported 118.1 million kilogrammes during the period.
The tea was exported to 45 countries with Pakistan, the leading market, with 26.5 million kilogrammes or 22 per cent of the total export volume.
Together with Egypt, United Kingdom, Afghanistan and Sudan, the top five markets accounted for 74 per cent of the country’s total tea exports.
Exports to Egypt, Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan and the UK recorded the fastest growth of between 39 per cent and 15 per cent.
In the new markets, United Arab Emirates had the fastest growth with its imports rising 5.2 million kilogrammes to 5.6 million kilogrammes, an eight per cent growth.
However domestic tea consumption was static at 4.5 million kilogrammes, despite the board’s campaign to promote tea consumption as a healthy habit.