The recently created African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has opened new markets for tea producers in Kenya.
President William Ruto flagged the first shipment of tea from Kenya to Benin and Ghana under the AfCFTA. The zero-rated export is seen as a boost to business in Africa and a win to the economic bloc in its initial stages of development.
The African Continental Free Trade was established in 2018 with an aim of promoting intra-Africa trade, especially in value-added products.
President William Ruto announced that the government will offer credit to the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to meet its six month tea orders as more markets are being opened. This spells good news to farmers within the KTDA because they are now able to find markets for their produce.
KTDA farmers are expected to earn up to Ksh 30.5 million from the trade with Benin and Ghana. Under the AfCFTA agreement, Ghana and Benin removed the 10pc import levy on Kenyan tea.
Speaking during the flagging of the consignment, President Dr William Ruto said that his government is ready to take advantage of any opportunity provided by the AfCTA in value-added production.
“Kenya is strongly committed to exploiting the full potential of value addition and unlocking the opportunities available within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) framework,” said President William Ruto.
The Kenyan government continues to find more markets across West Africa to take full advantage of the new opportunities. Negotiations are already underway between Kenya and Nigeria for the export of Kenyan tea into the West African Country.
Other countries that are being considered for negotiation include Tunisia, Cameroon, Morocco and other tea-importing countries.
KTDA has asked the government for funding of up to KES 800 million for the construction of more processing factories to increase value-added tea. The aim of the association is to increase value-added tea from 5% to 50%.
There is currently an ongoing construction of a tea factory in the Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zones Authority to meet KTDA’s target.