The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya's Annual Tea Production On a Decline, Says Board

Tea production for the half year ending June 2012 dropped to 158.1 million kg compared to 178.4 million for a similar period in 2011.

The Kenya tea board predict that tea production for the year 2012 is expected to drop to 360 million kg, compared to 377 million recorded in 2011. This was attributed to bad weather in the first four months leading to a drop reduced output from the major tea producing areas.

Production for the month of June 2012 rose to 30.1 million kilos compared 28.9 Million Kgs recorded during the corresponding month of 2011. This was attributed to light rainfall in the West of Rift valley where output increased from 19.1 million kg recorded 2011 to 20.6 million kg. Plantation sub-sector recorded increased output from 12.6 million kg to 14.1 million kg. Small holder sub-sector however recorded a marginal drop from 16.2 million kg to 16.0 million kg due to bad weather experienced during the first four months of the year.

In June, 16.7 million kg tea was sold through Mombasa auction, and exported to 40 destinations up from 37 for similar period in 2011 when 23.5 million kg were sold. The number of export destinations for the first half of 2012 rose to 53 compared to 48 for the same period last year, owing to fresh markets including Togo, Cameroon and Brazil. Egypt maintained the lead, buying 6.3 million kg, 21 per cent of Kenya's tea export volume.

The average tea auction prices for June 2012 at $3per kg was an improvement from $2.97 for the same period of last year. The average prices of Kenyan top grade tea rose for the sixth straight week to $4.07 per kg at this weeks auction from $3.92 per kg last week. Cumulative average auction price for the half of 2012 was slightly above $3 while for the 2011 it was slightly below $3. Locals tea consumption dropped for the month June this year to 1.54 million kg, compared to 1.69 million recorded in in June 2011.

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