KENYA TEA INDUSTRY PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS FOR
Tea production for the month of April 2017 decreased to 31.45 Million Kgs compared to 37.91 Million Kgs recorded during the corresponding month of 2016. Lower production was largely attributed to dry and hot weather conditions experienced in all the tea growing areas. The most affected region was the East of Rift where production declined significantly from 15.49 Million Kgs to 9.81 Million Kgs owing to delayed onset of the “Long-rains” season in March and depressed rainfall conditions in April. Production within the West of Rift decreased marginally from 22.41 Million Kgs recorded in April 2016 to 21.64 Million Kgs. Consequently, the Smallholder sub-sector recorded a significant decrease of 6.55 Million Kgs from 24.09 Million Kgs to 17.53 Million Kgs while the Plantation sub-sector registered a marginal increase from 13.82 Million Kgs recorded in April 2016 to 13.92 Million Kgs.
Cumulative production for the period January-April 2017 was significantly lower at 121.55 Million Kgs against 177.51 Million Kgs recorded during the corresponding period of 2016 owing to unfavorable weather conditions. Going by the current production trend and the fact that most parts of the country are expected to receive depressed “long rainfall” according to the weather forecast by the Kenya Meteorological Services, lower production is expected to be recorded throughout the year.
Table 1: Production by Sub-Sector and Region (2017 vis-à-vis 2016)
During the month, 23.20 Million kgs of Kenyan tea was sold through Mombasa Auction against 29.43 Million kgs recorded in April 2016. The average tea auction prices for Kenyan tea for the month of April 2017 was USD 2.87 per Kg which was higher compared to 2.11 recorded in April 2016. However, it was slightly lower compared to over USD 2.90 recorded in the months January, February and March 2017, respectively. The Average Auction price for the period January- April was higher at USD 2.98 per Kg compared to 2.41 per kg for the same period of last year.
Improved prices to-date were attributable to good demand against lower supply of tea due to hot and dry weather conditions.
The total export volume for the month of April 2017 was 26.75 Million Kgs compared to 42.05 Million Kgs recorded same period of last year, representing a 36% decrease. During the month, Kenya tea was shipped to thirty nine (39) export destinations compared to forty one (41) destinations for the same period of last year. Amongst these markets, Pakistan was the leading export destination for Kenyan tea having imported 7.53 Million Kgs, accounting for 28% of the total export volume. Other key export destinations for Kenyan tea were Egypt (3.66 Million Kgs), Afghanistan (2.95), UK (2.26 Million Kgs), Sudan (2.21 Million Kgs), Yemen (1.35), Russia (1.10), UAE (0.49 Million Kgs), Poland (0.43) Million Kgs), USA (0.40 Million Kgs), and Kazakhastan (0.39 Million Kgs. The ten export destinations, most of which which are traditional markets for Kenyan tea accounted for 84% of Kenya tea export volume. Amongst the markets that recorded higher tea imports from Kenya included Yemen and Poland.
Amongst the emerging markets that recorded significantly higher tea imports from Kenya included Jordan, Ukraine, China, Japan, Chile, Chad, Bangladesh and Djibouti.
The total export volume for the period January-April 2017 was 146.48 Million Kgs compared to 170.38 Million Kgs recorded same period of last year.
Local tea consumption for April 2017 stood at 2.20 Million Kgs against 2.68 Million Kgs for the corresponding period of 2016 while cumulative tea consumption for the first four months period upto April 2017 was 9.28 Million Kgs against 9.64 Million Kgs for the same period of 2016. Lower sales volume were attributed to higher inflation rates, which eroded consumer purchasing power.