Firm bets on blender to grow tea earnings

Tuesday December 19 2017

Gordon Omondi (right) warehouse manager at Siginon with Erick Onyango in charge of clearing and forwarding explains how the newly installed blending machine works. PHOTO | COURTESY

Gordon Omondi (right) warehouse manager at Siginon with Erick Onyango in charge of clearing and forwarding explains how the newly installed blending machine works. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By GERALD ANDAE
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Siginon Global Logistics has heightened rivalry in tea blending business with the commissioning of a Sh38 million facility in Mombasa that will mix the beverage meant for export.

The Indian made four tonne state-of-the-art machine is the largest in Africa, bringing competition of tea blending right at the door of a few existing players in the country. Blending involves mixing of two different types of teas depending on diverse price profile and colour of the commodity to get a preferred test by customers.

For instance, tea from western Kenya gives strong colour but has lower aroma while the one from eastern has high aroma but low in colour. These two varieties are blended to give a certain test preference.

There are less than 10 tea blenders in Kenya with a lot of buyers and companies mixing the produce manually, a move that compromises quality of the beverage.

Siginon is charging Sh6 to blend a klogramme of tea and has been handling 120 tonnes of the beverage every day.

Currently, Siginon is handling produce from Van Rees, an international tea buying firm, which is supplying all the quantities needed in a day.

According to Gordon Omondi, warehouse manager at Siginon Global Logistics, they are getting a number of orders from clients who are interested in having their teas blended at the facility.

“Since we commissioned this plant last month, we have been getting good response from our customers and soon we shall be rolling out a 24 hour operation to handle increased orders,” said Mr Omondi.

He said from the look of things, the company will recoup the cost of plant within a short time.

Until the new facility was installed, Signon has been blending tea manually, in what he says was not giving out an exact quality of what the customers would want.