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Commodities

Tea exports down 3.4m kilos as Covid causes disruptions

Tea exports to Kenya’s major markets dropped by 3.4 million kilos in the seven months to July
Tea exports to Kenya’s major markets dropped by 3.4 million kilos in the seven months to July. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Tea exports to Kenya’s major markets dropped by 3.4 million kilos in the seven months to July, compared with the same period last year as commodity markets continued to face disruptions because of Covid-related restrictions.

Data from the Tea Directorate indicates that the volumes exported to different countries dropped to 289.1 million kilogrammes in the review period, from 292.6 million in corresponding time last year.

Most of Kenya’s major tea markets are still battling with the effects of the coronavirus, slowing their demand.

Kenya reported its first Covid-19 case in March, with the containment measures announced subsequently by the government leading to logistical challenges in bringing the tea to the market.

“Notably, access to some markets is still a challenge due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on commodity distribution and trading across the globe,” said the directorate.

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The export volumes declined despite the quantities produced having gone up by 38 percent in the review period, to 337 million kilogrammes this year from 244 million in the same period in 2019.

The regulator highlighted lower demand in two key markets of Pakistan and Egypt as the major cause of the decline in volumes shipped out this year. Pakistan, which is the leading buyer of the Kenyan tea, registered a decline of eight million kilogrammes in the review period, from a high of 105.7 million kilogrammes last year to 97 million kilogrammes this year. Egypt, which is the second major importer of the beverage witnessed a decline of one million kilogrammes in the review period.

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