tea harvesting

Good news for farmers and traders as Tanzania reverses decision to suspend tea imports from Kenya

It is good news for famers and traders in Kenya following the decision by the Tea Board of Tanzania, the regulator of the country’s tea sector, to reverse decision to suspend tea imports from Kenya.

According to a memo sent out on Wednesday last week, the decision now presents a window for Kenyan traders to resume exports to the neighbouring country.

“This is to inform you that the issuance of import permits will resume with effect from February 19, 2024,” said the board’s memo in part to tea processors, blenders, packers, and traders.

“With this resumption, you are all reminded to observe all terms and conditions as stipulated in the Tea Act and Regulations before and after importation to ensure that you conduct fair business, and the tea reaches the final consumers in the quality that meets domestic and international standards.”

Tea export suspension

Earlier this month, Tanzania halted the issuance of new permits for tea imports due to worries regarding the substandard shipments entering its market.

Kenya has praised Tanzania’s choice to reinstate the issuance of tea import permits following Kenya’s advocacy for the reversal of the permit suspension.

In his X (formerly Twitter) handle, Ombudo K’Ombudo, Trade Principal Secretary (PS) lauded the move thanking the parties involved in solving the trade impasse.

“We sincerely appreciate our Tanzania colleagues for the audience on the margins of the EAC (East African Community) Sectoral Council in Arusha to resolve this matter,” said the PS.

He added that the two trading partners would convene a Joint Trade Council in the upcoming weeks to assess and address obstacles impacting trade relations between the neighboring countries.

Kenya’s tea export to Tanzania

Nevertheless, Kenya’s tea exports to Tanzania remain modest, but efforts have been made to increase exports to its EAC partner to enhance foreign exchange earnings from the commodity.

Out of the 40 export destinations for Kenyan tea in 2022, Tanzania accounted for the smallest volume of shipments.

For example, in 2022, Kenya exported only 1,200 kilograms of tea to Tanzania, ranking the country 40th out of the 40 countries that Kenya sold tea to during that period.

Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan continue to hold the top positions as the biggest purchasers of Kenya’s tea worldwide, in that order.

Government future plans 

In a bid to enhance tea exports, the Kenyan government is considering reducing the minimum price of $2.43 per kilogram of tea sold at the Mombasa auction.

This move comes after traders expressed concerns about being burdened with unsold batches of tea due to a lack of buyers.

The minimum price requirement was implemented in 2021 for tea sold by the Kenya Tea Development Agency.

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Source:By Zablon Oyugi