Kenya’s top 10 traditional tea markets accounted for 88 per cent of the exports to 39 destinations, with Pakistan remaining the main buyer of the produce in February.
The industry performance highlights for February indicate Karachi, Egypt, UK, UAE, Russia and Sudan, among other top buyers accounted for the lion’s share of the commodity.
Exports to Pakistan was 14 million kilogrammes in the period under review, which was a growth of 55 per cent from the same period last year when exports to the country were nine million kilos.
“The top 10 markets for our tea purchased almost everything at the auction,” said Samuel Ogola, head of Tea Directorate.
Egypt maintained the second position at 7.5 million kilogrammes with the imports having increased by 28 per cent from 5.8 million kilos last year, while UK came in third after buying 4.1 million kilos.
The volumes to UK grew by a significant 49 per cent as fears arose that export would drop following Brexit.
Experts have warned that the exit of Britain from European Union (EU) could see a drop in volumes of tea that the UK imports from Kenya due to anticipated decline of its (UK) re-export market to other nations.
The UK is a major re-exporter and in 2014 it exported 17 per cent of the beverage it imported, with countries such as Republic of Ireland, Germany, Poland and France its major markets.
Export destinations declined from 44 countries to 39 countries in the period under review.
However, the total export volume for the period grew to 38.94 million kilos compared with 31.83 million kilos recorded same period last year, representing a 22 per cent increase.
Among the emerging markets that recorded significantly higher tea imports from Kenya included Sri-Lanka, Switzerland, Somalia, the US, India, Ireland, Turkey, the Netherlands, Iran, Indonesia, Japan and Oman.
Kenya is trying to open up new markets and expand the existing ones such as China, which has the potential of buying more of the local beverage, to protect farmers from low earnings.
Local tea consumption for February 2017 stood at 2.21 million kilos against 2.26 million period in 2016.