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Kenya set to roll out electronic tea auction

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya is set to launch the first electronic tea auction in Africa, an official said on Monday.

Edward Mudibo, the Managing Director of East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA), noted that the new system will start trial operations in December.

“Tea buyers and brokers will use computers and screens during the auction period as opposed to the use of a hammer during their weekly,” Mudibo told Xinhua in an interview.

He added that the system will remain under trials for one year before being launched officially in December 2019.

Currently, tea auction is held in public and is an “open cry” system where buyers compete for lots of tea by bidding against each other in an auction room.

Mudibo revealed that Kenya will be the first country in Africa and the second in the world after India to unveil the system.

“The system of buying where a broker hits the hammer during the weekly Mombasa auction must come to an end to allow e-auction,” he added.

The Mombasa tea auction is the world’s largest black tea auction and handles about 75 percent of tea exported through the port of Mombasa, covering shipments from the EATTA member countries of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Madagascar and Mozambique.



Kenya tea production declines in 2017 over poor weather

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan tea production declined last year due to the unfavorable weather conditions, an official revealed on Monday.

Samuel Ogola, the Interim Head, Tea Directorate at the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), said that 2017 production dropped to 439 million kilograms in 2017 compared to 473 million that was recorded in 2016.

“The decline was caused by depressed rainfall conditions that were severe during the first quarter of the year,” Ogola told journalists in Nairobi

Ogola however said that production was not only lower in Kenya alone but across most tea producers globally.

He revealed that following the last year’s trend, Kenya has intensified promotion of its tea in Iran, China, Russia and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Ogola is optimistic that Kenya’s economy is expected to record further growth since the country expects to have good weather conditions this year.

He said the country’s tea auction prices are expected to remain stable at 3 U.S. dollars per kilogram and export volume to rise by 2 percent to 423 million kilograms.

He said that despite the drop in production, 2017 maintained economic growth momentum from 2016.


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