Home Business Government allocates Ksh.1B to boost tea value addition 

Government allocates Ksh.1B to boost tea value addition 


The government will allocate KSh1 billion to the construction of two value addition and branding centres for Kenyan tea, President William Ruto has said. 

Speaking when he launched Chai Gold, the flagship tea brand of the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) for the international market at Ketepa Grounds in Kericho County on Wednesday, the President said: “We are now moving to the next level where we are adding value, creating jobs, creating wealth.”

“The more we sell branded, processed tea, the bigger the earnings, the more the jobs we create and the more the enterprises we create.”

President Ruto told KTDA to set aside another KSh1 billion for the construction of value addition facilities in Kericho and Nairobi to serve the Western Rift and Eastern Rift tea growing regions respectively.

Present were Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi, Kericho Governor Eric Mutai, MPs, MCAs and other leaders.

The President expressed concern that by 2022, a paltry 5 per cent of tea produced in Kenya annually was branded. But with the government’s emphasis on value addition, the situation has improved to 9 per cent in less than two years.

The ultimate aim is to increase value addition of tea to 5 million kilogrammes annually, he said.

Thanks to subsidised fertiliser, the President said tea earnings are set to top hit KSh210 billion this year, up from Sh180 billion last year and Sh140 billion in 2022.

Consequently, farmers bonus earnings this year are expected to hit a record KSh70, he said.

He asked the KTDA management to upgrade their facilities, automate their processes and support other smaller factories to add value and brand the agency’s teas.

“I want you to find ways of supporting our micro and small enterprises to take advantage of this common user facility so that we can expand the branding and value addition that is already going on,” he said.

President Ruto said following consultations with the Dutch conglomerate Unilever, owners of Lipton Teas, the global tea brand will now be sold with the tag “Origin of Kenya.”

For years, Lipton Teas was marketed and sold globally as “English Breakfast Tea,” yet wholly produced in Kenya, thus denying the country recognition in of a crop it produces.

He said Lipton Tea has also agreed to set up a factory to produce fertiliser specifically suitable for tea and support a tea research programme at Kabianga University in Kericho.

He also called on KTDA to diversify to orthodox brand of tea, which is currently being produced by only 13 factories.

The President said the government has delivered subsidised fertiliser worth KSh25 billion since it started the programme two years ago, boosting productivity across all sectors of food production.

“Because of subsidised fertiliser, many farmers have taken up farming in a new wave,” he said.

He said the government is keen on reducing the importation of food, which cost the country KSh500 billion annually, yet most of the food items can be produced locally.