Tea exports to Kenya’s major markets in the year to September dropped 17 per cent compared with corresponding period in 2016 with some top buyers registering significant cuts.
Statistics from Tea Directorate indicate the volume of exports fell to 320 million kilogrammes (Kg) from 387 Kgs last year.
The September report shows the total volume exported to the UK and Egypt dropped 39 per cent and 14 per cent respectively as the drought bit.
Egypt is the second largest buyer followed by UK at number three. Pakistan is the top buyer.
Tea was shipped to 39 export destinations compared with 41 markets for the same period in 2016. Pakistan led with 9.91 million kgs, accounting for 28 per cent of the total volume.
The 10 export destinations, most of which are traditional markets, accounted for 89 per cent of the total volume.
Sudan, UAE, Russia, Kazakhastan, and Poland markets recorded higher tea imports from Kenya while the other markets recorded lower imports.
Kenya has been relying on the top markets for the sale of most of its tea, but the directorate is now scouting for new markets given that most of these traditional buyers such as Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan and Yemen are undergoing political instability.
The directorate has been banking on emerging markets and an increase in local consumption to improve the sales.
Amongst the emerging markets that recorded significantly higher tea imports from Kenya included Malaysia, Switzerland, Jordan, Indonesia, Ukraine, India and Bangladesh.
Local tea consumption for the nine-month period stood at 26.88 million Kg against 21.75 million Kg for the corresponding period of 2016.