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Tea production drops by 19% in first half of 2017, says KNBS

Cumulative tea production for the first half of the year
dropped 19.43 per cent, data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics has
shown.

Data collated by the state statistician from the Kenya Tea
Directorate shows that tea production for the six month period ending June 2017
stood at 200,909 metric tonnes, compared to 249,349 tonnes recorded during the
same period last year.

Kenya Tea Industry Performance Highlights for June 2017,
published by the Tea Directorate attributed the lower output to unfavorable
weather conditions that were experienced during the first quarter of the year.

The agency said that
cumulative average price for first six months of 2017 were higher at $3.00 (Sh311.67)
per Kg compared to $2.28 (Sh236.87) for the same period last year.

“Improved prices
to-date were attributable to good demand against lower supply of tea in the
first quarter of the year due to hot and dry weather conditions,” the
Tea Directorate said in its monthly highlight.

The total export volume for the January-June 2017 period decreased
by 18.55 per cent to 221.15 million kilos compared to 271.53 million kilogrammes
recorded during the same period in 2016.

During the six month period tea shipments to Pakistan rose
21.55 per cent to 88.67 million kilogrammes from 72.95 million kilos last year.
KNBS data shows that the world’s sixth most populous country emerged as
Kenya’s biggest export market by value recorded at Sh24.84 billion in the five
months to May.

June recorded the largest volumes of tea produced this year
at 40,537 metric tonnes, a 13.86 per cent rise from 35,602 metric tonnes during
the corresponding month of 2016.

“The increase in production was largely attributed to
scattered precipitation which was experienced in the East of Rift following
which the region’s output rose from 9.30 million kilos to 12.24 million kilos,”
the agency said.

The directorate said that good production was recorded
within the smallholder sub-sector where farmers managed to raise output by
19.59 per cent to 21.84 million kilogrammes from 18.26 million kilos in 2016.

“However, owing to cold weather conditions coupled with less
rainfall, the output within the West of Rift increased marginally from 26.5 million
kilos recorded in June 2016 to 28.29 million kilos,” the agency said.

In June Pakistan was the leading export destination with a
volume of 19.48 million kilogrammes. That was an equivalent of 42 per cent of
the total volume of tea exports.

Other key tea export destinations were Egypt (6.24 million
kilos), the UK (4.40 million kilos), United Arab Emirates (4.36 million kilos)
and Sudan (2.17 million kilos).

The Tea directorate said that emerging markets that recorded
significantly higher tea imports from Kenya included Saudi Arabia, Netherlands,
Jordan, Chile, Ukraine, Mauritius and Oman.

Local tea consumption for June rose 178 per cent to 5.56
million kilos from 2.00 million kilos recorded during the same period last year
while cumulative tea consumption for the six month period ending June increased
by 29.86 per cent to 17.92 million kilos from 13.80 million kilos last year.

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