Efforts to open tea market in Iran have paid off with increased exports. In January, exports to Iran grew by 1271 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year. Iran imported 1.1 million this year, compared to 83,000kgs last year.
In February, exports to the country ran grew by 113 per cent compared to the same period last year, an increase from 124,080kg to 263,718kg, shows the latest tea market report by Tea Board of Kenya (TBK) on the first two months.
TBK Managing Director Sicily Kariuki said Iran was a high potential growth market with Kenya exporting five million kilos of tea last year.
Kenya has been diversifying its markets to cut reliance on the top markets of UK, Egypt, Sudan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, which accounted for 74 per cent of the total tea import in January and February this year.
The TBK report also shows both the traditional and emerging tea importers bought higher volumes than the corresponding period last year.
In January, 37.9 million kilos, which was 13 per cent higher compared to 33.6 million recorded in January, last year, was exported. In February, tea export was higher by 39 per cent, from 32.2 million kilos last year, to 44.7 million this year.
During the two-month period, Pakistan imported the highest volume of tea at 18.9 million kilos, which accounted for 23 per cent of exports.
Other key import destinations for Kenya’s tea were Egypt, which imported 16.9 million kilos, followed by UK with 11.8 million kilos, Afghanistan nine million kilos and Sudan with 4.5kg.
" The five traditional export destination accounted for 74 per cent of Kenya export volume and collectively imported higher volumes by 34 per cent from 45.8 million in January and February last year, to 61.3 million kilos this year" said report signed by TBK managing director Sicily Kariuki said.
Emerging market recorded higher tea imports from Kenya by six per cent to reach 21.3 million kilos, up from s from 20 million kilos.
The local consumption for the two months under review stagnated at 2.9 million kilos compared to the corresponding period last year.
Netherlands increased its volume of import from 24,000kg last year, to 199,000kg this year, a 687 per cent increase compared to the corresponding period last year and close to 300,000kg in February. In February last year, the country did not import any tea from Kenya. Other countries that recorded significant increase of import include Chile, Canada, and Turkey.