Tea volumes offered for sale down, price up marginally

A woman picks tea leaves at Gathehu village in Nyeri county on October 31, 2015. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG

The volumes of tea offered for sale at the Mombasa auction declined in the latest sale as the price of the commodity edged marginally.

The volumes of tea that were taken off the trade during the sale went down to 27 percent during the trading held last week when compared with 34 percent in the previous auction.

The price of the beverage increased to $2.22 (Sh264) up from $2.21 (Sh263) in the previous sale, to mark a third straight time that the prices have been on an upright trend.

The price of tea has been improving albeit marginally in the last three sales after recording poor performance in the last couple of months.

“There was a fairly general demand for the 186,468 packages (12.2 kilogrammes) available for sale. 135,350 packages (8.9 kilogrammes) were sold with 27.41 percent of packages remaining unsold,” says a report from the East African Tea Trade Association.

The falling prices had earlier been attributed to low demand for the commodity at the auction following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which disrupted the market.

The Russian war on Ukraine cut the tea exports to the Asian nation by over half a billion shillings in the first quarter, according to the regulator.

Tea Board of Kenya said the earnings from Russia declined by Sh598 million as volumes dropped 74 percent to 686,072 from 2.6 million kilos that were achieved in the corresponding period last year.

Farmers allied to the Kenya Tea Development Agency Holdings (KTDA) saw their earnings rise 42.4 percent to Sh62.8 billion in the year ended June when the price of the commodity rose by double digits.

The company had paid the farmers Sh44.15 billion a year earlier. The latest payout is the highest the growers have received in the last five years.

The 26.6 percent price jump was helped by the government’s introduction of a minimum tea price per kilogramme of $2.43 for KTDA tea starting July last year.

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