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Sudan grants Kenyan tea one-year extension ahead of new pact on standards

tea factory
A tea factory in Othaya, Nyeri. Sudan is one of the major buyers of Kenyan tea. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya’s tea has once again been given a one-year extension to access the Sudanese market without restrictions.

This follows the lapse of the previous one-year window as the two nations continue to address the issue of quality.

The two countries have been at loggerheads in the last three years over the expiry date of the Kenyan tea, a move that prompted a joint scientific research to determine the actual sell-by date of the beverage.

Whereas Kenya argues that its tea take three years on the shelf before it expires, Sudan has maintained that the duration of the sell-by date is one- and-a-half years.

The joint research is being conducted by Sudan Standards and Metrology Organisation and the Kenya Bureau of Standards.


In a letter addressed to Kenya’s ambassador to Sudan, the director general of SSMO, Awad Sokrab, said his country has approved tea export to Khartoum this year.

“Reference to the above subject matter and your letter requesting a reprieve on the requirements for tea exports from Kenya to Sudan, we are pleased to inform you of the approval to renew for third year during 2019,” said Dr Sokrab in the letter dated March 21.

Officials from Kenya visited Sudan last month to discuss the matter where the country requested for an extension of more time for the Kenyan tea to continue accessing Khartoum market as the five-year research is being conducted.

Sudan is one of the major buyers of Kenyan tea.

Trade barrier

Deputy President William Ruto and Sudan President Omar El Bashir met in Sudan last year where they discussed the long-standing trade barrier requiring Kenya to seek a permit every year for exporting the commodity to that country.

s and January this year it bought 1.14 million kilos of tea, which was a double-digit growth from 631,859 kilos that it bought in corresponding period last year. The value of the tea, using January 2019 average price of Sh230 a kilo, is Sh262 million.

Sudan in 2017 suspended the decision to cut the shelf life of Kenyan tea to allow the research the outcome of the ongoing research.

Kenya has been pushing for the reversal of the directive by the Sudanese government through diplomatic means.

Kenya in 2017, through a Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) meeting between foreign ministry officials from both countries, urged Khartoum to reverse its decision.