Kenya Black Tea Exports Down 21 Million kgs

NAIROBI, Kenya

Kenya, the world’s largest black tea exporter, expects a 5 percent decline in production to 360 million kilos this year, according to Kenya Tea Board officials.

The country produced 377 million kilos in 2011 and exported 421 million kgs that year earning Sh109 billion ($1.28 billion). Sales to Europe slowed but overall demand was steady as the political situation in the Middle East quieted.  Destinations including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Russia, Somalia, Iran, Ireland, Djibouti, USA, and Turkey are thirsty for Kenya’s CTC and sales this year are expected to top $1.3 billion despite a 5 percent decline.

Tea production from January to August 2012 dropped by 6.5 percent to 214.4 million kgs compared to 229 million kgs in the same period last year, according to Tea Board Managing Director Sicily Kariuki. As the year closes, she predicted Kenya is likely to “suffer some minor negative variance” with year-end production “slightly above 360 million kg – a projection that we had earlier indicated.”

In Sri Lanka, production of high grown tea is at 48.4 million kg, down from last year’s 54.8 million kg. Tonnage of medium grown tea dropped slightly from 35.5 million kg in 2011 to 35.3 million kg this year with low-grown tea accounting for 130.8 million kg of production compared to the 130.9 million kg harvested last year.

During the first half of the year Sri-Lanka production dipped by two percent from 189 million kgs in 2011 to 185 million kgs, according to reports in Capital FM.

Tea production in South India will decline for the fourth consecutive year owing to erratic monsoon and adverse weather in the growing regions. During the first seven months (January-July) of this year, tea production declined 3.8 per cent to 138.1 million kg from 143.5 million kg during the same period last year.

R Sanjith, spokesperson for the United Planters’ Association of Southern India (Upasi) told the Business Standard that “a fall of this magnitude in tea output makes it difficult to recoup the loss in the remaining months.”

Tea production in north India fell to 332.7 million kg compared to the 348.1 million kg harvested in 2011, a year-over-year decline of 4.4 per cent.

India’s tea output slipped by 4.2 per cent to 470.8 million kg from 491.6 million kg during the first seven months of the year.

Source: Business StandardCapital FM, Daily Mirror

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