Tea output up 8pc as stocks pile up over price impasse


A woman carries a sack with tea leaves on her back after plucking at a farm in Kapsabet, Nandi County on April 04, 2023. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG

Tea production grew by eight percent in the first 10 months of the year on higher rainfall, but an impasse at the auction over minimum prices is derailing selling.

Production of the green leaf rose for the third month in a row in October driven by wet conditions in the tea growing areas during the period, according to data from the Tea Board of Kenya (TBK).

It shows that production hit 52.79 million kilos in October, marking an increase of 4.49 million kilogrammes from 48.3 million in September.

In eight out of 10 months this year, tea production has been higher compared to last season, primarily attributed to higher rainfall received during the year, even as the country started to experience the El Nino phenomenon characterised by heavy rains over the past three months.

As a result, tea farmers produced 465.01 million kilogrammes in the first 10 months of the year, marking an increase of eight percent from 430.25 million produced during the same period last year.

“Improved production was attributed to wet weather conditions experienced in several parts of the country during the month of October, which was a continuation from the month of September over several parts of the country,” said the Board.

“In tea growing regions in the West and North of Rift Valley, the rainfall was moderate but well distributed throughout the month especially in Kericho, Bomet and Nandi,” it said.

Despite the high output, Daily Nation reported last month the introduction of fixed minimum prices at the auction in Mombasa has led to a crisis that has left warehouses overflowing with the leaf.

Industry estimates showed about 60 percent of stocks sent to the weekly sale over the past six months remain in warehouses.

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.