Address Kenya tea quality


Workers pick tea at a farm in Kericho. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Rwanda’s continued dominance at the tea auction by attracting more premium rates compared to that Kenya should be a wakeup call for sector players.

While Kenya continues to sell in high volumes at the Mombasa Tea Auction, Rwanda is doing better in price per kilo as international buyers turn focus to quality.

Marketing data from the auction indicates Rwandan tea was sold at Sh272 a kilo last week against Kenya’s Sh214.

Kenya, which is the leading tea exporter in the world, only leads the auction in terms of volumes with more than three quarters of the produce traded coming in from the country.

Teas from different countries differ due to husbandry practices, rainfall patterns, altitudes and soil chemistry.

While factors such as altitudes and rainfall patterns may be hard to address, the difference in quality of tea is determined primarily by leaf collection and factory operations.

Kenya should invest in the best agronomical practices such as applying the right quantity of fertilisers and shift from focusing on volumes .

There is a need to give farmers the right skills to raise quality.