Kenya is now seeing the impact of Brexit following the drop in tea volumes purchased by Britain as European countries increasingly chose to bypass UK with direct imports.
An industry performance report by the Tea Directorate indicates the volume purchased by Britain dropped from 5.4 million kilogrammes in March last year to 3.1 million kilogrammes in the same month this year.
The directorate indicates that Britain is no longer buying same amount of tea from Kenya due to a reduced re-exportation market to other European countries who have been securing the commodity from the UK.
“We can comfortably attribute this decline to Brexit, Britain has been a major buyer of our tea in Europe and it was buying for both local consumption and re-export to other European countries,” said Samuel Ogola, head of the directorate.
Experts had last year 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 of tea and in 2014 it exported 17 per cent of the beverage it imported, with countries like Republic of Ireland, Germany, Poland and France being its major markets.
Mr Ogola said the countries that used to buy Kenyan tea indirectly from Britain are now procuring it directly from Kenya. The report indicates that volumes of tea exported to Poland and Germany grew by 39 and 12 per cent respectively in the period under review.
The data from the directorate indicates that the volumes exported to Germany went up from 75,000 to 85,000 with sales to Poland jumping to 504,787 from 363,554 in March last year.
The country 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 as a way of protecting farmers from low earnings.
Local tea consumption for February was 2.18 million kilogrammes against 2.5 million kilogrammes in the same period last year while cumulative tea consumption for the two months to March was 47.08 million kilogrammes against 6.95 million kilogrammes in 2016.