Government Allocates Ksh1 Billion to Boost Tea Value Addition

President William Ruto has announced that the government of Kenya will allocate KSh1 billion to the construction of two value addition and branding centres for Kenyan tea.

Speaking when he launched Chai Gold, the flagship tea brand of the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) for the international market at Ketepa Grounds in Kericho County on Wednesday, the President said that his government is now moving to the next level where it is adding value, creating jobs, and creating wealth.

“The more we sell branded, processed tea, the bigger the earnings, the more jobs we create, and the more enterprises we create.” said Ruto

President Ruto told KTDA to set aside another KSh1 billion for the construction of value addition facilities in Kericho and Nairobi to serve the Western Rift and Eastern Rift tea growing regions, respectively.

Present were Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi, Kericho Governor Eric Mutai, MPs, MCAs and other leaders.
The President expressed concern that by 2022, a paltry 5 percent of tea produced in Kenya annually was branded. But with the government’s emphasis on value addition, the situation has improved to 9 per cent in less than two years. The ultimate aim is to increase value addition of tea to 5 million kilogrammes annually, he said.

Thanks to subsidised fertiliser, the President said tea earnings are set to top hit KSh210 billion this year, up from Sh180 billion last year and Sh140 billion in 2022. He asked the KTDA management to upgrade their facilities, automate their processes, and support other smaller factories to add value and brand the agency’s teas.

President Ruto said following consultations with the Dutch conglomerate Unilever, owners of Lipton Teas, the global tea brand will now be sold with the tag “Origin of Kenya.”

For years, Lipton Teas was marketed and sold globally as “English Breakfast Tea,” yet wholly produced in Kenya, thus denying the country recognition in the crop it produces.

He said Lipton Tea has also agreed to set up a factory to produce fertiliser specifically suitable for tea and support a tea research programme at Kabianga University in Kericho.
The President also called on KTDA to diversify to orthodox brand of tea, which is currently being produced by only 13 factories.

The President said the government has delivered subsidised fertiliser worth KSh25 billion since it started the programme two years ago, boosting productivity across all sectors of food production.

“Because of subsidised fertiliser, many farmers have taken up farming in a new wave,” he said.

He said the government is keen on reducing the importation of food, which cost the country KSh500 billion annually, yet most of the food items can be produced locally.


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