Empowering Farmers through Knowledge

KTDA Delivers Record Growth: Greenleaf Production Surges by 15.2%

In a testament to Kenya’s thriving tea sector, the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) reports a remarkable 15.2 percent surge in greenleaf production among its smallholder tea farmers. This uptick has not only bolstered tea sales but also heralded a wave of optimism for farmers across the region.

The increase in greenleaf production has paved the way for a noteworthy 2.8 percent rise in KTDA tea sales, soaring from 148 million kilos to an impressive 152 million kilos of processed tea compared to the same period last year. This commendable growth can be attributed to a combination of favorable weather conditions and the strategic application of subsidized fertilizer, ensuring optimal yield for farmers.

Wilson Muthaura, the Group Chief Executive Officer of KTDA, reaffirmed the agency’s unwavering commitment to maximizing tea value and enhancing earnings for smallholder farmers. He emphasized KTDA’s collaborative efforts with government agencies and stakeholders to bolster tea sales and ultimately improve farmers’ livelihoods.

The positive trajectory in tea sales is further buoyed by favorable foreign exchange rates, with the price of KTDA teas witnessing a 3 percent uptick, climbing from US$2.70 per kilogram to US$2.78 per kilogram. This translates into higher returns for farmers, underscoring KTDA’s relentless pursuit of value creation within the tea industry.

Despite inherent challenges such as escalating production costs and fluctuating global demand, KTDA remains resolute in its mission to optimize value for smallholder farmers. Muthaura reiterated the agency’s tireless endeavors to explore new markets and capitalize on value-added opportunities, ensuring sustained growth and prosperity for all stakeholders.

A significant development worth noting is the upward adjustment of factory rates, with factories in the West of Rift raising their rates from Ksh 20 to Ksh 24 per kilogram of green leaf, while those in the East of Rift increased their rate from Ksh 21 to Ksh 25. This proactive measure reflects KTDA’s commitment to fair compensation and incentivizing farmers for their invaluable contributions to the tea industry.

The latest report from KTDA indicates a substantial increase in greenleaf deliveries to factories, with a staggering 763,208,762 kilos delivered during the last seven months compared to 662,565,605 million kilos in the corresponding period the previous year. This upward trend underscores the resilience and dynamism of Kenya’s tea sector, driving economic growth and prosperity at grassroots levels.

This positive momentum follows KTDA’s record final payout of US$302.39 million to smallholder tea farmers in September 2023, catapulting their total earnings for the year to an unprecedented high of US$463.7 million. This notable achievement marks a 7.6 percent increase from the previous year, underscoring KTDA’s pivotal role in empowering farmers and fostering sustainable development.

In light of recent discussions regarding potential adjustments to minimum tea prices at the Mombasa auction, KTDA remains vigilant in advocating for the best interests of tea farmers. The agency acknowledges the importance of maintaining a delicate balance between market dynamics and ensuring fair returns for farmers, thereby safeguarding the sustainability of Kenya’s tea industry, a cornerstone of the nation’s economy.

As KTDA continues to chart new frontiers in tea production and marketing, the future holds promise for smallholder farmers, with innovative strategies and collaborative partnerships driving sustainable growth and prosperity across the tea value chain. With each leaf harvested, Kenya’s tea industry solidifies its position as a global leader, enriching lives and communities one cup at a time.

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