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Kenya tea production drops

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 5 – Kenya’s tea production for the first quarter of 2009 registered a drop of seven percent to stand at 65.8 million Kgs from 70.7 million Kgs recorded between January and March 2008.

Statistics from the Tea Board of Kenya indicate that production for the period was also lower than the 108.7 million Kgs registered in first quarter of 2007.

The decrease in production was attributed to hot and dry weather conditions experienced in tea growing areas east of Rift Valley, leading to a drop of output by 41 percent within the region from 40 million Kgs (January-March 2008) to 23.3 million Kgs.

"However, owing to wet weather conditions during the quarter, tea production in the West of Rift Valley was higher by 38 percent, from 30.7 million Kgs recorded in the first three months of 2008 to 42.4 million Kgs," a statement from the Kenyan Tea Board indicated.

Production within the smallholder tea subsector recorded a 23 percent drop to 37.4 million Kgs while the output in the plantation sub-sector recorded a 29 percent increase to 28.3 million Kgs.

The month of March recorded the lowest output of 18.7 million Kgs compared to 21.5 million Kgs recorded in February and January’s 25.4 million Kgs.

In the same period, major black tea producing countries in the world recorded lower production compared to the same period of last year attributable to dry weather conditions.

Sri Lanka, registered the highest drop at 41 percent from 51.7 million Kgs to 30.3 million Kgs for the period up to February.

Indonesia also recorded a drop of 13 percent while India and Bangladesh recorded a drop of 7 percent, and 12 percent respectively. 

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