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Kirinyaga set to host first KTDA specialty tea factory in Kenya

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The agency is at the final stages of putting up the Japanese specialty green tea production factory, which is the first in the country, as it targets to net in more income. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited (KTDA) is putting up a Sh330 million specialty tea factory in Kirinyaga County as it diversify its production lines in the wake of price volatility in the world market.
  • The agency is at the final stages of putting up the Japanese specialty green tea production factory, which is the first in the country, as it targets to net in more income.
  • The factory, which will be located at the company’s Kangaita Tea Farm, will be used to pilot the processing of the specialised Japanese Sencha green tea which on average fetches double the price in the market compared to the traditional black CTC.

Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited (KTDA) is putting up a Sh330 million specialty tea factory in Kirinyaga County as it diversify its production lines in the wake of price volatility in the world market.

The agency is at the final stages of putting up the Japanese specialty green tea production factory, which is the first in the country, as it targets to net in more income.

The factory, which will be located at the company’s Kangaita Tea Farm, will be used to pilot the processing of the specialised Japanese Sencha green tea which on average fetches double the price in the market compared to the traditional black CTC.

KTDA Management Services Managing Director Alfred Njagi said the project is a collaborative effort between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) and KTDA.

“With Kenya being the third largest producer of tea in the world, KTDA is in the process of diversifying the kind of products we are putting in the market, having started with Orthodox tea and now green tea,” said Mr Njagi.

The project will cost Sh330 million with KTDA with JICA funding it to the tune of Sh150 million and the balance coming from the agency.

“We are grateful to the Japanese government for helping fund this project so that we can diversify the products that smallholder tea farmers process in order to ensure that they are cushioned against the fluctuations of black CTC tea prices,” he said.

The price of black CTC teas have remained low at the auction with a kilo going for a low of Sh214. Specialty teas earned KTDA Sh800 million in the financial year ended June, from the sale of 1.6 million kilos.

Part of the project will involve mechanised green leaf plucking as the production of Japanese Sencha Green Tea demands a certain type of leaf quality to go through the processing plant.

KTDA has been testing mechanised plucking at the farm, by ensuring tea bushes are prepared for the process when production starts next year.