Kenya tea earns record Sh97bn

What you need to know:

  • The crop has become country’s leading foreign exchange earner

Tea has become Kenya’s leading foreign exchange earner, bringing in Sh97 billion last year, up from Sh69 billion in 2009.

The improved export earnings were attributed to a combination of higher export volumes, improved prices as well as depreciation of the shilling.

Tea exports rose from 342 million kilogrammes in 2009 to 441 million kilogrammes in 2010.

Production for the year was much higher than 314 million kilogrammes in 2009 and 345 million kilogrammes recorded in 2008.

It also exceeded the 369 million kilogrammes registered in 2007, which until then was the highest production year.

“The performance is quite tremendous in terms of production volumes and foreign exchange earnings, which makes tea the highest single commodity foreign exchange earner,” Tea Board of Kenya managing director Sicily Kariuki told a media briefing in Nairobi on Monday.

Until now, tea was Kenya’s second foreign exchange earner after horticulture while tourism is third.

In 2009, horticulture earned Sh71.6 billion, tea brought in Sh69 billion and tourism earned Sh62.4 billion.

Horticulture and tourism are yet to release their 2010 earnings.

Agriculture minister Sally Kosgei said the government would continue with reforms in the sector to ensure it realised its full potential.

Dr Kosgei, who is leading Kenyan fruit and vegetable farmers to a trade fair in Germany, yesterday said that the performance was good news to her ministry.

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