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Tea exports: Kenyan, Chinese firms sign cooperation pact

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The Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock Development Mithika Linturi has said Kenya is determined to work with other major tea industry players to transform the sector, making it more profitable and sustainable for the benefit of tea exporters and smallholder farmers.

Speaking recently during the launch of the China-Kenya Tea Trade Center and the unveiling of a partnership between Kenyan orthodox and specialty tea manufacturers and China’s Benny Tea Company in Fujian province, the Cabinet Secretary noted that the partnership provides an opportunity to transform the livelihoods of Kenyan smallholder tea farmer radically.

He indicated that the Chinese firm will, among other things, support the Kenya Tea Development Authority and other independent tea-producing factories with equipment and technology transfer.

“The Ministry together with the Tea Board of Kenya will work with Benny Tea to ensure Kenyan tea sold through this cooperation and value added at the center,” Linturi said when he led bilateral negotiations for establishing a Kenya-China Joint venture in China.

The Kenya Tea Development Authority & private tea companies sign tea trade agreements with counterparts from China in Fuzhou City of Fujian Province. Photo/Courtesy

According to the Kenyan Embassy in Beijing, the latest partnership shall also focus on value addition and tea branding.

“The foreign direct investment in Kenya shall spur growth in the branding of Kenya Tea reforms and spearhead ongoing tea sector reforms on alleviating the brand of locally produced tea,” noted the embassy in a statement

The Cabinet Secretary also held discussions with the company officials on the opportunities available for Kenyan coffee and tea producers/exporters to brand and package them for international markets, amid the target to achieve 5 million kilograms of tea traded between both sides annually.

The opening of the China-Kenya Tea Trading Center comes after many months of bilateral negotiations.

“These tea trade agreements will open new markets for our KTDA-managed factories and private tea producers,” said Amb. Lynette Mwende from the Beijing embassy further reiterated that the signed pact will also promote and strengthen China-Kenya economic ties.

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