Nairobi — Tea export for the month of February 2013 reduced with a total volume of 42.9 million kilograms compared to February 2012 that totalled 44.7 million kilos. The Tea Board of Kenya Managing Director Sicily Kariuki attributed this reduction to fluctuating demand from the seasonal and lower ends market.
"During the month, Kenya tea was shipped to 36 export destinations compared to 40 destinations for the same period of last year," she said. Egypt was the leading export destination for Kenyan tea having imported 10 million kgs accounting to 23 percent of the total export volume.
Other key export destinations for Kenyan tea were Pakistan (10 million kgs), UK (6.4 million kgs), Afghanistan (3.3 million kgs), and UAE (2.2 million kgs). The five export destinations accounted for 75 percent of Kenya tea export volume.
Moreover, local tea consumption continued to register growth with the volume of tea consumed in February 2013 amounting to 1.8 million kgs against 1.6 million kgs for the corresponding period of 2012. Tea auction sold through Mombasa also grew from 20.8 million kgs recorded in February 2012 to 24.2 million kgs recorded in February 2013 average tea auction prices for Kenyan tea for the month of February 2013 was $3.13 per kg against 2.95 for the corresponding period of last year.
Higher prices for the auction were due to improved demand by most markets in anticipation of supply shortfall in the first quarter owing to dry and hot weather conditions as well as winter season experienced across major black tea producing countries.
Higher production for the month of February was also recorded at 38.5 million kgs against 18.4 million kgs recorded during the corresponding month of 2012.
Higher production compared to February last year was largely attributed to less severe hot and dry weather conditions coupled with incidences of light rainfall conditions experienced in tea growing areas.
Consequently, output within the West of Rift increased from 9.4 million kgs recorded in February 2012 to 22.9 million kgs. Production in the East of Rift was also higher from 8.9 million kgs to 15.5 million kgs.
Similarly, good production was recorded across the sub-sectors, with tea output within Smallholder sub-sector increasing from 11.7 million kgs to 23.2 million kgs. Production within the Plantation sub-sector rose from 6.6 million kgs to 15.2 million kgs.
Cumulative production for the first two months of the year was 83.8 million kgs against 54.6 million kgs recorded during the same period of 2012.