The price of tea at the Mombasa auction last week dipped for the third time in a row, reversing the trend of good prices witnessed in October.
A market report by the East African Tea Traders Association (Eatta) indicates that a kilogramme of made tea on average fetched Sh223 compared with the previous sale where it attracted Sh229.
The volume traded during the sale rose by over 400,000 tonnes to mark one of the largest rises in recent months as the tea sector recovers from the dry weather that hit the country in the first quarter.
The situation could get worse as the industry is in the middle of rain-spurred high season that is likely to last into early next year. “The average price reduced to Sh223 compared with last week’s Sh229,” said EATTA managing director Edward Mudibo. In a similar period last year, the price was at Sh220 per kilo of made tea.
A series of low prices in during the last financial year saw farmers affiliated to Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) get drastically reduced earnings. The farmers earned returns of Sh69.7 billion in the 2018/2019 financial year in what the agency attributed to low international prices, down from Sh84 billion in the previous season. The reduced earnings placed Kenya at position two globally in terms of payment to farmers, having paid the growers an average of Sh42 per kilogramme, trailing Sri-Lanka at Sh48.
Kenya is a leading exporter of the commodity in the world, selling 95 per cent of its tea in the global market.