Tea from western Kenya continues to perform dismally at the auction as the minimum price continues to take a toll on the beverage, which recorded an absorption rate of 32 percent this week. The teas from western Kenya, normally referred to as west of rift, saw only 20,240 packages (1.3 million kilogrammes) sold out of 61,600 packages (4.1 million kilogrammes) that had been offered for sale in this week’s trading. On the other hand, teas from the east of rift recorded a 75 percent absorption rate with buyers attributing the high purchases from the region to good quality teas that have the attribute that buyers are looking for in the beverage. The factories in the west of the country have been complaining that the minimum price of $2.43 introduced by the government in 2021 has hit the sales of their tea as buyers prefer beverages from the east of rift and have on some occasions directed their produce to be sold at a lower price other than that recommended by KTDA. In this week’s sale, KTDA teas fetched $2.65 down from $2.67 in the previous auction. The price was, however, higher when compared to the total average at the auction, which was $2.12 from $2.22 last week. The price of the beverage has been on a decline since the beginning of the year when the first sale of 2023 recorded $2.25. The price of tea has remained low over the last half of 2022 raising concerns among stakeholders as farmers are likely to see a decline in their earnings in the current financial year. A strong dollar witnessed last year has helped to offset the low prices, improving producers’ earnings. For instance, farmers earned Sh5 billion more from the sale of tea in eight months to August 2022 on the back of a strong dollar. The Tea Directorate said the earnings from export rose to Sh88 billion within the review period, up from Sh83 billion a year earlier.
Source: Standard Media