The Star (Nairobi)

18 April 2014

Kenya: Kisii Eyes Factory to Process, Blend and Export Local Tea

THE Kisii government wants to start value addition in tea and exporting the commodity directly to foreign markets. Governor James Ongwae and Deputy Governor Joash Maangi said they will build a value addition and blending factory in the county.

Ongwae and Maangi want to make tea a "major foreign exchange earner" for Kisii. "We want tea to be processed, blended and packed locally," Ongwae said. Speaking in Kisii yesterday, the governor said the move will attract higher international prices, which will benefit farmers.

He said Kenyan tea is sold in Britain at exorbitant price while farmers earn peanuts. "Our tea is blended into many famous British brands including Simpson tea while farmers get very low bonuses," Ongwae said. He said the county government will help farmers improve the quality of tea.

Maangi said the county government is considering marketing tea directly to Dubai. "I led a delegation to Dubai and discussion is underway to see if they can directly take our tea at fairly good prices," he said.

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