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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenyan tea farmers expect better earnings with good weather

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- An estimated 560,000 smallholder tea growers in Kenya will this year earn an estimated at 830 million U.S. dollars in revenues, up from 630 million dollars in 2015 amid stability in the global commodities market and favorable weather that boosted production.

Briefing on this year’s revenues for tea farmers on Tuesday, officials said Kenya outshone its rivals in Africa and Asia to fetch the highest revenue from the cash crop in the global market.

"Improved earnings for tea farmers this year was occasioned by favorable exchange rates and improved weather condition," Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) CEO Lerionka Tiampati.

He revealed the total volume of green leaf produced by smallholders this year reached 1.23 billion kilograms compared to 1.04 billion kilograms last year.

The demand for Kenyan tea in both traditional and new markets in the West, Asia and Middle East increased slightly this year.

Tiampati said that value addition, improved crop husbandry and marketing is key to boost the competitiveness of Kenyan tea in the global market.

"We have adopted strategic measures like energy efficiency and business diversification to enhance performance of the tea sector," Tiampati said, adding that the majority of tea factories are now using cleaner fuels like briquettes to limit their carbon footprint.

"We have encouraged tea factories to invest in cost management and efficiency enhancement initiatives. Several tea factories have invested in small hydro power stations to lower energy costs and generate additional revenue from sale of power to the national grid," said Tiampati.

He disclosed the Kenyan tea agency has partnered with private sector arm of the World Bank, International Finance Corporation to enhance tea production through improved crop husbandry.

             

 

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