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Overview of Kenya’s Tea Exports
ImageKenya is currently the world’s third largest producer of tea after India and China but the leading exporter of black tea
Kenya’s tea industry is well developed and is among the country’s leading foreign exchange earners and contributes about 20% of the Kenya’s total export earnings.
Since 2009, the Tea industry was the highest foreign exchange earner raking in Kshs 92 billion in 2010.
Kenya's major markets for tea in 2010 included Pakistan, Egypt, United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Sudan, Russia Federation and Yemen;
The top four countries alone accounts for about 66% of total exports and this shows a high concentration of markets.
Table 1: Kenya’s Top Ten Exports in 2010
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Source: Economic Survey, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (2011)

1.2 Kenya’s tea export by category 

Table 2: Volume of Kenya’s Tea Exports by category; 2006- 2010 (Tons)
 
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Source: Customs Dept., KRA, compiled by CBIK, Export Promotion Council

As shown above, the total export volumes of tea generally grew over the period 2006 to 2010.
Kenya’s tea exports are mainly constituted by black CTC (crush tear and curl) teas in bulk and exports of green teas are still very low.

1.3 The need for value addition of Kenya’s tea 
Although the volume of value added tea sales has been increasing, there is still need for promotion to increase sales by creating product diversity, increasing the profitability, and providing job opportunities for Kenyans doing value addition rather than foreigners,  and finally achieve the goal of  industriazation as envisioned in the Vision 2030.
The need for value addition of the tea has become more necessary than before to provide the consumers world-wide with pure Kenyan branded teas, blended at source

Like other producing countries, Kenya can capture more value in the tea supply chain by diversifying into value-added production. Value added teas is tea exported as small packets and bags; and also herbal tea, flavoured tea and green tea instead of black Tea

The Country also needs to promote more the origin of teas from a particular region and then marketing the teas with a clear indication of their origin. The Tea Board of Kenya recently launched the Mark of Origin.
 
For the promotion of the exporting of value added Tea, it is recommended that Kenya considers providing incentives like other competitors (especially Sri Lanka) do to the producers and packers of teas through duty free imports of flavours and packing equipment and materials and also placing all factories under the special economic zones.
 
Currently, the tea industry is subject to more than 30 per cent in form of taxes, fee, levies, and charges. The tea industry will earn the country if the packers and traders are offered incentives to invest in equipment for value addition without having to pay expensive duty.
 
 
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