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Kenya tea production up 43pc

NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 30 – Tea production in the country has registered-improved output posting 260 million kilos between January and August this year.

The production jumped 43 percent from the 182 million kilos posted during the same period in 2009 on the back of improved rains in tea growing regions.

According to the Tea Board of Kenya, the output marks the highest ever-recorded volume from the tea sector in the last five years.

Tea Board Managing Director Sicily Kariuki said production in the west of the rift was 41 million kilos higher at 162 million kilos while the west of the rift recorded 97 million kilos.

Smallholder production accounted for 146 million kilos while the plantations produced 114 million kilos.

The eight-month average price for Kenyan tea at the auction improved to $2.72 per kilo compared to $2.56 in 2009. 292 million kilos of tea were exported raking in Sh65 billion in earnings, up from Sh43 billion in 2009.

Egypt was the leading export destination for Kenyan tea having imported 66.2 million kgs, which accounted for 22 percent of the total export volume.

The UK was the second leading export destination after importing 47.8 million kg while Afghanistan imported 35.3 million kg.

Mrs Kariuki said tea production could increase by 11 percent this year as the industry recovers from the drought that had plagued the sector in 2009. She expects output to climb to 350 million kilos.

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“I can confirm that we are still on course to meet and surpass our earlier set targets even if there is a change in weather later in the year,” Mrs Kariuki said adding earnings could rise to as much as Sh70 billion.

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