NAIROBI, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's revenues from tea exports are projected to hit 150 billion shillings (about 1.01 billion U.S. dollars) in 2023, up from 932 million dollars recorded last year, a senior government official said Wednesday.
Rigathi Gachagua, deputy president of Kenya, told an agricultural forum in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, that the East African nation is expected to realize higher returns in 2023 as a result of the ongoing tea reforms including the provision of subsidized fertilizers for tea farmers, which will result in higher production volumes.
"Tea is one of the crops that will assist us in increasing the foreign exchange reserves," Gachagua said during the announcement of the final payment to smallholder tea farmers under the Kenya Tea Development Authority.
Data from the Central Bank of Kenya indicate that tea is one of the country's main sources of foreign exchange alongside horticulture, tourism and diaspora remittances. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Production, the tea sector contributes about 2 percent of Kenya's gross domestic product.
Gachagua observed that globally, Kenya is the third leading producer and the biggest exporter of black tea. He noted that Kenya is also expected to generate higher export earnings this year due to the implementation of a reserve price that is aimed at cushioning farmers against market uncertainties.
The deputy president added that in order to overcome competition in the country's traditional tea markets including Pakistan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Russia, Kenya is expanding the production of specialty teas such as purple and orthodox tea. "Under our foreign policy, the main responsibility of ambassadors and heads of mission is to maintain current and expand our footprints into new markets for our products."