Kenya has exported the first tea consignment to Ghana and Benin under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
When flagging off five export consignments from Kenya Tea Packers-KETEPA, President William Ruto said the government is willing to advance credit to the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to meet its six months orthodox tea global orders.
Kenya’s tea exports to Ghana and Benin have been zero rated as Kenya starts exports to West Africa market under the African Continental Free Trade Area. Farmers affiliated to Kenya Tea Development Agency-KTDA will earn Ksh 30.5 million from the first consignment after Ghana and Benin removed the 10pc import levy on Kenyan tea.
“Kenya is strongly committed to exploiting the full potential of value addition and unlocking the opportunities available within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) framework,” said President William Ruto.
The government says it is seeking more markets in West Africa with negotiations with Nigeria ongoing.
“I expect the relevant Ministry to initiate a conversation with Cameroon, Tunisia, Morocco and all other major tea importing countries in the African continent concerning the tea market,” he said.
KTDA is seeking an immediate Ksh 800 million grant from the government to facilitate 10 orthodox processing factories meet their six months orders from international buyers.
A Ksh 1.5 billion user facility is being constructed at the Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zones Authority to facilitate value addition of tea from the current 5 to 50pc to boost earnings for farmers.
“For a very long time Kenya has produced tea that has helped everybody brand their low quality. But it is time we take advantage of our good quality tea and brand it and everybody else who wants to use our good quality must work with us,” said President Ruto.
Kenya is also in talks with South Africa to reduce import levy on Kenyan tea from 80pc to 10pc.
According to the President, the government will take decisive action to enhance the diversification of the economy to unleash the full force of the manufacturing sector in order to increase farmer earnings.