Kenya to open tea warehouses in Sudan with eye on new markets


Sudan is a key buyer of Kenya’s tea. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya will open tea warehouses in Sudan’s special economic zones as it targets to double export volumes and create new markets in Libya, the Central Africa Republic and Cameroon.

This follows a business forum in Khartoum last month attended by Kenyan delegation and Sudanese government officials, which sough to boost tea sales in the horn of Africa state.

The officials discussed a range of issues surrounding the tea trade.

“We requested to set up warehouses in Sudan’s economic zones to not only boost the supply of our commodity in that country but to also open up other markets for our produce in the neighbouring states,” said an official from the Tea Directorate.

The directorate said that the warehouses will ease tea transactions for traders who will not have to undergo the long process of securing money as has been the case.

There are no banks in Kenya that transact with clients in Sudan even after sanctions placed on the country by the US were lifted last year.

Sudan is a key buyer of Kenya’s tea and last year emerged number five having bought beverage worth Sh5 billion.

READ: Tea exports to Sudan up 27pc on lifting of shelf-life cut order

Pakistan remains Kenya’s top market, followed by Egypt, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. The top 10 export destinations, most of which are traditional markets for Kenyan tea, account for over 85 per cent of the total export volume.

Kenya has been relying on the top markets for sale of most of its tea but the directorate is now scouting for new clients given that most of the traditional buyers such as Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan and Yemen are experiencing political instability.

The directorate is also banking on increased local consumption to improve the sale of the beverage and boost farmers’ earnings.

Last year, local consumption of tea increased from 29.7 million kilos to 37.6 million kilos, accounting for Sh15 billion in sales.

The directorate signed an MoU with the Export Promotion Council (EPC) last year to coach SMEs on accessing the export market and making enquiries about overseas customers.

The coaching programme targets tea enterprises whose personnel are coached on technical aspects of the international tea trade, finance, product development, export market penetration and brand development.