Tea exports to major markets dropped by four million kilos in February compared with similar period last year as the country’s major buyers grappled with cases of coronavirus that has affected most economies.
Data report from the Tea Directorate indicate volumes exported to different countries dropped to 44 million kilogrammes in the review period from 48 million in corresponding period last year.
Most of the importing countries have been severely hurt by the pandemic, hitting the purchases in February.
There have also been challenges in transport sector as most countries have closed ports, affecting movement of ships.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said there has been a negative impact on exports of Kenya’s main crops including coffee, tea and horticulture because the virus has paralysed logistics world over.
“There has been an impact on export because of the coronavirus that has disrupted logistics world over and led to closure of some markets through lockdowns as countries try to combat the virus,” said Mr Munya.
Export volumes declined despite the quantities produced having shot by 18 million kilogrammes from the previous period.
Figures from the regulator indicate the three major markets recorded a decline in quantities purchased in the review period.
Pakistan, which is a top buyer of the Kenyan tea, registered a decline of two million kilos from a high of 16 million kilos in February 2019 to 14 million kilos last month.
Egypt, which is the second major importer of the beverage went down by a million kilos in the review period. The two countries have been hit by Corona virus with dozens of deaths.
“During the month, Kenya tea was shipped to 48 export destinations compared with 47 for the [similar] period last year. Amongst these markets, Pakistan was the leading export destination for Kenyan tea, having imported 14.16 million kilos, accounting for 35 percent of the total export volume,” said the directorate.