President Ruto flags off first consignment of Kenyan tea to Ghana

President William Ruto flags off the first consignment of Kenyan tea destined for Accra, Ghana, at KICC on October 5, 2022. PHOTO | PPS

  • The Head of State noted that for a long time Kenya has helped other countries to brand their tea with the good quality Kenyan tea, saying that practice must change.
  • The President added that in the next five years, Kenya’s value added tea for export must rise from 5 per cent to 50 per cent at the minimum.

President William Ruto has directed the Ministry of Trade to develop a Kenyan tea brand to guarantee farmers good returns from their labour.

The Head of State noted that for a long time Kenya has helped other countries to brand their tea with the good quality Kenyan tea, saying that practice must change.

President Ruto spoke at the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC) in Nairobi on Wednesday when he flagged off the first consignment of Kenyan tea destined for Accra, Ghana, under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) guided trade initiative.

The President added that in the next five years, Kenya’s value added tea for export must rise from 5 per cent to 50 per cent at the minimum, noting that competitors are producing approximately 60 per cent of what Kenya produces but earn three times because they are adding value to their tea.

“The instructions to the Ministry are very clear. We must have a Kenyan tea brand that we can market,” the Head of State said.

He announced that the Government will work with industry players to build a shared value addition facility at Dongo Kundu in Mombasa to process and package Kenyan tea.

At the same time, Dr Ruto lauded the flagging off of the consignment of the Kenyan tea to the Ghanian market, saying it marks the first step in a journey that will liberate the country from export of raw products to value added ones.

“The first step is historic because the one billion market in Africa is now available,” President Ruto said, emphasizing the need to look at markets beyond the platform created by AfCTA.

“Today's action confirms that Kenya believed in AfCTA from Day One. We ask fellow Africans to use this platform to actualise Africa's dream in trade and business,” President Ruto said.

He expressed optimism that the infrastructure provided by the AfCTA will make it easier to overcome barriers to trade and doing business within the continent.

Noting that the Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) is a consolidation of over 650,000 small-scale farmers, the President said the farmers play an important role in securing Kenya's place in the global market through tea exports worth $1.1 billion.

To support farmers to produce and access orthodox tea, President Ruto asked  KTDA to submit a proposal to the government on the funding required for consideration.

“To our farmers, don't be discouraged. We will support you fully, the value of tea will increase and so will your earnings,” the Head of State assured tea farmers.

He pointed out that the first intervention Government made to reduce the cost of production was to work with KTDA to bring down the cost of fertiliser from Ksh.6,000 to Ksh.3,500, adding that the Government will work with fertiliser producers to lower it further to between Ksh.2,500 and Ksh.3,000.

He underscored the importance of intra-Africa trade, saying when African countries do business together, they become better friends.

In this regard, the President asked asked the Ministry of Trade to conclude discussions on the export of value added tea with other African countries such as Morocco, Mauritius, and Tunisia, among others.

Speaking during the occasion, AfCFTA Secretary General Wamkele Mene said the partnership between Kenya and Ghana was a step in the right direction as it has set the continent towards industrialization and economic prosperity.

He said: "What Kenya and Ghana are doing is to give commercial meaning to Africa Union's project of integrating our markets and economy as a continent."

Mr Mene added that AfCFTA's goal was to double inter-Africa trade in manufactured goods.

On his part, KTDA Chairman David Ichoho said increasing farmers’ earnings through value addition was KTDA's top priority.

The KTDA Chairman lauded the Government for reducing the cost of fertiliser, saying the move will improve tea productivity.

Trade CS Betty Maina said the relevant Government agencies will work together to ensure the AfCFTA tea initiative is a success.

Also present were Ghanaian High Commissioner to Kenya Damptey Asere, nominee to the position of Trade Minister Moses Kuria, Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot and Trade Principal Secretary Amb. Johnson Weru among others.

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Ghana KICC Trade Tea President William Ruto

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