Tea exports to traditional markets in sluggish growth

A tea plantation worker in Kenya. FILE PHOTO |
A tea plantation worker in Kenya. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Tea exports to major markets improved marginally in the five months to May compared with the same period last year, highlighting Kenya’s reliance on traditional buyers who account for over 75 per cent of the market.

Industry performance report from Tea Directorate shows the volume grew to 152 million kilogrammes (Kgs) from 146 million kgs in a similar period last year, representing a four per cent growth.

Pakistan, the largest market accounting for over 30 per cent of the total tea exports, recorded a one per cent increase, with Egypt, which is the second largest buyer of the beverage registering a 15 per cent decline.

Kenyan tea was shipped to 56 export destinations compared to 39 countries in the same period last year.

The 10 export destinations, mostly traditional markets, accounted for 80 per cent of the total shipment.


Kenya has been relying on Pakistan, Egypt, UK, Sudan, Yemen among others but the directorate is now scouting for new markets.

It has been banking on emerging markets and an increase in local consumption to improve sales and boost farmers’ earnings.

Significantly higher tea imports from Kenya were recorded amongst the emerging markets of Turkey, Somalia, Indonesia, Canada, Djibouti, Germany, and Ukraine.

Kenya has also been trying to promote local consumption but growth has been slow. In the four months to April, consumption stood at 12.7 million kilos from 12.3 million kilos in the corresponding period last year.

Last month the Tea Directorate led a marketing campaign in Russia where Kenya is targeting to double volumes by 2020.