Kenya to export specialty tea to China annually

NAIROBI, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Kenya is said to commence export of about 5 million kilograms of specialty tea to China annually amid deepening bilateral trade, an official said on Monday.

Mwangi Kiunjuri, cabinet secretary in the ministry of agriculture, livestock and fisheries, said that Kenyan farmers are expected to earn 7 billion shillings (about 70 million U.S. dollars) from export of purple tea to the Chinese market in the initial three years.

"This is expected to increase to over 30 million kilograms annually valued at an estimated 40 billion shillings in the next 10 years," said Kiunjuri.

He spoke during a meeting with a delegation from China National Forest Industry Federation Ecological Tea and Coffee Branch and Fuzhou Benny Tea Industry Company Limited who are in Kenya to discuss strategies aimed at deepening trade in specialty tea.

Lucy Nyakiore (R), Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) Marketing Manager tastes the purple orthodox tea during the opening of First Specialty Tea Beverage Outlet in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, June 21, 2018. (Photo: Xinhua)

The seven member delegation from China that is visiting Kenya from Aug. 24 to Sept. 1 will sign memorandum of understanding (MoU) with five specialty tea processing factories to pave way for export of the commodity to the Asian country.

Kiunjuri said that Kenya is keen to forge robust partnership with Chinese enterprises to boost growth of the nascent specialty tea market.

"We believe a partnership with Chinese companies will lead to growth of the purple tea market segment. It is our desire to pursue enhanced access to Chinese market for tea products," said Kiunjuri.

He revealed that Fuzhou Benny Tea Industry Company limited agreed to provide machinery and expertise to five Kenyan purple tea processing factories during recent negotiation with Kenyan officials.

Farmers pick purple tea leaves at a tea garden near Nairobi, capital of Kenya, June 16, 2017. Kenya introduced purple tea about four years ago. (Photo: Xinhua)

According to Kiunjuri, the Chinese firm also agreed to warehouse and market the Kenyan purple tea through an electronic trading platform.

Zhang Chaobin, chairman of Fuzhou Benny Tea Industry Company Limited, said that a vibrant Sino-Kenya trade in specialty tea will help fulfil key objectives of the Belt and Road Initiative.

"Our trade with Kenya in the specialty tea sector is complimentary. It will also boost friendship," said Zhang.

Zhu Zhonghai, secretary general of China National Forestry Industry Federation Ecological Tea and Coffee Branch, said that high quality specialty tea from Kenya will resonate with Chinese consumers.