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Commodities

Tanzania sisal glut steeply cuts price for Kenyan exporters

A sisal plantation in Rongai
A sisal plantation in Rongai, Nakuru County. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The price of Kenyan sisal has dropped since April as cheap commodity offered by Tanzania in the world market continues to take a toll on local producers.

Data by the Directorate of Fibre Crops show earnings dropped from Sh177 per kilogramme in April to Sh156 for the same quantity last month.

In comparison to the same period last year, the value has dropped from Sh163 in June 2016 to Sh157 in the period under review.

Interim head of the directorate Naomi Kamau said Tanzania, which is the second leading producer of the fibre after Brazil, offered relatively low prices for the commodity to the world market, leading to depressed cost globally.

“Tanzania continues to supply fibre to the world market at a much lower price in what has continued to depress the prices globally since April this year,” said Ms Kamau.

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Ms Kamau said Tanzania has forced Kenyan sellers to lower their price in order to remain competitive in the world market.

According to the directorate a kilo of sisal at the international market in the first six months of 2018 averaged at Sh166, compared with Sh161 in a similar half of 2019.

Production of the crop last year, says the directorate, increased marginally to 23,187 tonnes from 22,549 tonnes in the previous season.

Over 80 per cent of sisal fibre is exported to more than 30 destinations worldwide, with China, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Morocco leading the pack.

About 20 per cent of the sisal is used locally in the manufacturing of various products in the four weaving factories in the country.

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