Tea exporters will have to adopt value addition as the government moves to improve quality and returns on the beverage.
Trade secretary Peter Munya said local tea ends up blending other varieties in the world market, making it lose its “country of origin status” and hampering its visibility and profitability. Mr Munya said a technical team was working on a blueprint that will be presented to the Cabinet for approval.
“Almost 70 per cent of our tea is exported in bulk. This is the trend that we now want to change to ensure that about 50 per cent of the beverage is value-added before being exported,” he said. “Our technical committee is fine-tuning the regulations before presenting them to stakeholders and finally the Cabinet for approval,” he said.
Mr Munya spoke yesterday during the launch of Faraja Tea, a brand by Sudan-based Cofftea Trading Company Ltd.
He decried the export of raw commodities that are later processed and brought back as finished goods and sold at a higher price. “Some supermarkets are importing what is locally produced and selling it at a premium; value addition will help cut down such imports,” he said.
The Tea Directorate has already formed a task force to spearhead value addition and enable SMEs to get access to export markets.