Kenya’s government is looking to boost its production of low-cost sugar and expand its tea exports to Sudan, the East African Country’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, has confirmed.
Speaking in the capital city of Nairobi following a high profile meeting with Kamal Ismael, special envoy of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, Kenyatta stated that Kenya is seeking deeper economic cooperation with its regional neighbor.
Ismael is seeking President Kenyatta’s support as he targets the post of Executive Secretary of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-country trade bloc in Africa.
Sudan is already one of many of Kenya’s major markets for tea. Other export destinations include Pakistan, Egypt, United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Sudan.
Kenya is the world’s leading tea exporter, shipping out about 95 percent of the country’s total tea production.
The nation’s local tea market absorbs only 5 percent of the total production and the rest is exported. Kenya’s tea market share is estimated at about 27 percent of the world’s tea trade with Sri Lanka coming second at 26 percent.
According to Kenya’s Export Promotion Council, a leading trade-based organization in the East African nation, upcoming markets for Kenya’s tea include Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, South Africa, West Africa and Northern African Countries, including Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco.
The Council describes Kenya’s tea industry as fully liberalized and the marketing of tea is independently carried out by tea traders. In fact, more than 84 percent of Kenya’s tea is sold through a platform known as the Mombasa auction, which is the second largest tea auction center in the world.
During his meeting this week, Ismael told President Kenyatta that Sudan was committed to stronger relations with Kenya, and would this year increase its imports of Kenyan teas by 20 percent.
Sudan is one of the leading buyers of Kenyan tea. The country is also more adept at sugar production, a skill that Kenyatta hopes Kenya will adopt going forward.