Ruto wants Kenya tea brand enhanced to boost farmer living

Thursday, May 16th, 2024 08:30 | By
Tea picking
Tea picking. PHOTO/Print

Kenya’s tea should be branded to increase its visibility in the global market so as to help fetch the best prices for farmers, President William Ruto has said.

The Head of State said Kenya’s tea which is a top foreign exchange earner bringing in more than €1 billion (Sh100 billion) annually should be branded to increase its visibility in the global market and label it with a mark of origin.

Ruto pointed out that brand sustainability is very crucial in a competitive business environment and as such, players in the industry should fast-track development of the Kenyan product which he described as a significant contributor to the economy.

Speaking at State House Nairobi yesterday when he met Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) factory chairmen and directors, the President expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, saying Kenya continues to sell unprocessed tea and denying farmers the best prices in the market.

 “We are the largest tea producer in the world, yet we don’t have a Kenyan tea brand and, therefore, our product gets lower prices than countries that produce less than we do,” said Ruto.  

He told the leaders of tea factories to set up common user facilities, adding he expects the country to be exporting at least 60 percent of processed and branded tea in between three and five years. 

“Last year, we did away with taxes on packaging materials for tea. We, therefore, have to expand common user facilities and add value to our tea,” Ruto said.

He added: “We cannot continue exporting our tea in sacks. In three years, we must export 60 per cent of value-added and branded tea. KTDA and the Tea Board of Kenya must work together in branding our tea.”  

Responding to issues raised by the sector leaders, the President promised to operationalise the Tea Tribunal within three months.

Ruto agreed with the leaders that tea factories which have invested in hydro- power stations must be paid for the power they sell Kenya Power and Lighting Company.

He also said the Kenya Forest Service and KTDA will sign an agreement through which tea factories will take part in the country’s 15 billion tree-planting programme, and also be able to harvest trees in various forests for their wood fuel.           

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