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Tea farmers get short end of stick as prices fall

Seth Mwaniki @MwanikiM

Tea farmers will this year earn less than last year despite reduced tea production due to the prolonged dry season.

According to Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) national chairman Peter Kanyago, who spoke at Gitugi Tea Factory in Othaya yesterday, the prices will be further worsened by unpredictable global political turbulence.

Kanyago said the recently issued trade sanctions to Iran by the US government are likely to deal a blow to Kenya. Iran controls seven per cent market of total annual production of green leaf tea produced in Kenya.

He also cited the ongoing political unrest being experienced in Sudan, saying that it may no longer be possible to export the five per cent of green leaf tea as the tradition has been.

Low output

These factors, Kanyago said, have automatically defied the laws of demand and supply, overturning expectations that farmers should earn more due to low production. “I am afraid our farmers will earn less despite having low tea production this year,” he said.

The annual average production has gone down by 2.5 per cent according to the chairman while prices at the Mombasa tea auction currently stands at $2.66 (Sh269) per kilogramme of green leaf tea compared to last year when the same retailed at $3.22 (Sh325.6).

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