Tea plays an important role in Kenya’s economy, as it is currently one of the leading foreign exchange earners for the country. It supports livelihoods of over 6 Million people directly and indirectly and accounts for about 2% of the Country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Kenya produces over 450 Million Kgs of made tea annually, out of which 91% is exported and 9% is consumed in the local market. The Cut, Tear and Curl (CTC) is the most dominant method of tea processing in Kenya. Depending on the fermentation process, CTC teas are categorized as Black, Oolong or Green. Among the specialty tea, Orthodox accounts for 50% of production, Green tea is about 40%, while 10% is mostly purple, ball shaped, white and organic teas.
The mandate of the Market Development and Trade Advisory Directorate includes;
- Facilitating marketing and distribution of tea through monitoring and dissemination of market information, including identification of the local and global supply-demand situation; promoting trade and market access, domestic market matching and overseas market linkages for tea;
- Providing linkages with various governments and private research institutions for the conduct of studies and researches designed to promote the production, marketing and processing of tea; conducting tea market exploration, intelligence gathering and surveys on traditional, emerging and potential markets for Kenyan tea;
- Building the capacity of value chain players on product development and adaptation including product design, value-added processing, packaging, labelling, branding and enhancement of exporting skills at both sectoral and firm levels and providing business counselling services to potential and existing exporters;
- Promoting and advising on strategies for value addition prior to the export of tea from Kenya.
Generic promotion activities in supporting the development of the sector are undertaken in partnership and collaboration with the various stakeholders. The Tea Directorate Works closely with the tea industry value chain players and Kenya’s Diplomatic Missions abroad in promoting Kenyan tea in the international markets.
International Tea Promotion
Guided by the structured approach to export market prioritization, the Directorate undertakes to identify export market opportunities for Kenya Tea and formulate appropriate market entry and penetration strategies. This will be realised through informed market research and surveys findings, trade missions, contact promotion programmes, buyer/ seller meetings, trade fairs and exhibitions and inward buying missions.
On an annual basis the Directorate in consultation with tea industry stakeholders develops the Annual Promotional Plan (APP) which lists prioritised promotional events to guide its export market development activities. The APP is a reflection of joint efforts, both public and private sectors, in consolidating and enlarging Kenya’s tea traditional export markets and diversifying into new and emerging export market of Eastern Europe, North America, Asia and Rest of Africa. The objective of such extensive consultations is to minimize duplication of efforts by various stakeholders and to ensure focused export market development initiatives.
The development of the programme is informed by extensive market analysis prioritising Kenya’s markets into four tiers, namely: Traditional, Emerging and New markets respectively.