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Kenya tea production improves in November

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 23 – Tea production for the month of November recorded improved performance with output rising by four percent to stand at 35.8 million kgs compared to 34.4 million kgs recorded during the same period of last year.

Production for the month of November was also higher by nine percent compared to 32.7 million kgs registered during the month of October this year.

Higher production was due to favourable weather conditions experienced in tea growing areas following the onset of the “short” rains season in the month of October and continued wet and warm weather conditions in the month of November.

Compared to the same period of last year, production increase was more in the East of Rift, were output rose by seven percent from 14.4 million kgs to 15.4 million kgs.

However, West of Rift registered a marginal increase of two percent from 19.9 million kgs recorded in November 2008 to 20.3 million kgs.

Improved production within the East of Rift reversed the region’s lower tea output trend experienced up to the month of October owing to severe drought.

From a sectoral perspective, the Plantation sub-sector recorded the highest increase of 10 percent from 13.7 million kgs recorded in November last year to 15.1 million kgs.

The Sub-sector contributed 42 percent of the national production. However, the Smallholder tea Sub-sector registered a production increase of less than one percent to stand at 20.7 million kgs from 20.6 million kgs. The Sub-sector contributed 58 percent of the national production.

Production for the month of November brought the cumulative output for the year to 278 million kgs, nine percent less than 307 million kgs recorded during the period January-November 2008. Lower production to-date was attributed to the impact of prolonged drought in the country during the better part of the year.

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Table 1: Production for November 2009 vis-à-vis November 2008 (Kgs)
Sector Region Nov. 2009 Nov.  2008 Variance Var.(%)
Plantation West of Rift        13,124,559           12,146,608      977,951  8.05%
 East of Rift          2,026,671             1,602,490      424,181  26.47%
 Total        15,151,230           13,749,098  1,402,132  10.20%
Smallholder West of Rift          7,262,831             7,845,356  –   582,525  -7.43%
 East of Rift        13,451,582           12,811,125      640,457  5.00%
 Total        20,714,413           20,656,481        57,932  0.28%
Plantation &  West of Rift         20,387,390           19,991,964      395,426  1.98%
Smallholder East of Rift        15,478,253           14,413,615  1,064,638  7.39%
  Total        35,865,643           34,405,579  1,460,064  4.24%


During the month of November 2009, 21.0 million Kg’s of Kenya Tea was sold through the auction which was marginally lower compared with 20.9 million Kg’s sold during the corresponding month of last year. The average tea prices for Kenyan tea for the month of November 2009 was higher at USD 3.10 per Kg compared to USD 2.79 recorded in October and USD 1.88 realized in November 2008. Higher Auction prices for Kenyan tea during the month of November were occasioned by lower supplies in the world market following the onset of winter season which has consequently led to lower production in some of the major black tea producing countries.

Overall, average tea prices in all Auction Centres of the world have significantly been higher compared to the previous years, owing to a short fall in tea supply from the world leading black tea producers. Cumulatively, the world production currently lags behind that of last year by 80 million Kgs owing to adverse weather conditions experienced during the first half of the year.

Table 2: Kenya Tea Auction Sales January-November 2009 vis-à-vis January- November 2008
 2009 2008
Month Volume Sold ( Kgs) Unit Price in USD Volume Sold ( Kgs) Unit Price in USD

January 19,191,595 2.33 17,472,802 2.28
February 17,627,091 2.29 18,254,559 2.47
March 22,649,635 2.31 15,832,943 2.22
April 11,293,911 2.42 23,365,348 2.31
May 15,625,920 2.49 16,959,000 2.30
June 22,447,027 2.70 22,138,244 2.43
July 14,847,744 2.90 20,069,399 2.55
August 16,876,108 3.02 13,406,573 2.75
September 12,992,338 3.18 15,612,005 2.70
October 14,732,712 2.79 20,259,694 2.29
November 21,076,256 3.10 20,901,111 1.88
 189,360,337 2.70 204,271,678 2.38


During the month of November, tea export volume rose to 30 million kgs from 27 million kgs recorded during the month of October. However, the total exports for November 2009 was lower compared to exports recorded during the same period of last year, which stood at 32 million kgs. Exports for November brought the cumulative export volume to-date to 314 million kgs, 11% lower compared to 354 million kgs recorded during the January – November 2008 period.

During the period up to November, Kenya tea was exported to forty five market destinations. Egypt was the leading export destination for Kenya tea, having imported 70 million kgs, which accounted for 22% of the total export share. Other key importers were UK (59 million kgs), Pakistan (48 million kgs), Afghanistan (29 million kgs) and Sudan (24 million kgs). The five markets absorbed 73% of the Kenya tea exports.

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Figure 1: Cumulative Tea Exports Up To November 2009 Compared To 2008


The domestic tea market continued to grow with consumption for the month of November standing at 1.5 million Kgs. Cumulative domestic tea consumption up to the month of November stood at 16.3 million Kgs, 5% higher compared to 15.5 million Kgs recorded during the same period of last year.

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