Unusually dry weather in Kenya is having a negative effect on the country’s tea production and has pushed up the price of Kenya teas by 60%. The country’s total output has been rising recently and total production of 370 million kg (m.kg.) in 2012 increased to a record crop of 432.5 m.kg. in 2013.
And, between January and November 2014, total production reached 400 m.kg., compared with the 390.7m.kg. in the same 11-month period of 2013. This has meant cheaper Kenyan teas. Output in other East African countries, such as Malawi and Tanzania, has also gone up in recent years, making African teas in general less expensive. But if Kenya’s current dry spell continues through to April, production is expected to fall and prices will rise again. In January this year, Kenya teas had gone up from averages of $2.5 (Rs 155) per kg in 2014 to $4 per kg.
While the dry weather conditions are bad news for East Africa, they may be good news for other producing regions of the world, and in particular for Indian growers, whose teas have been more expensive and therefore less competitive in world
markets. Tea exports from India from April to November 2014 dropped by 10.43% on the previous year to 126.28 m.kg.