Kenya launches a three year plan market study to grow its market share in Russia

Kenyan tea volumes exports to Russia have been shrinking in the past few years and the tea directorate is keen to reverse this trend.

 

The directorate has hired, a Russian consulting company, (CROS) to provide intelligence on how to penetrate the Russian tea consumer market by formulating a three-year market plan.

“We have priorities Russia because Russia is the leading importer of tea and Kenya is the leading exporter of tea we hope to hit 44 million in the next three years mainly through improving  the quality of black tea” Samuel Ogola, the interim head of Kenya’s tea directorate told journalists during  a media briefing.

Natalya Zhivaya, a public relations officer at CROS believes Kenya’s tea quality stands out and therefore an added advantage.

“Kenya produces good quality and has all the characteristics that the Russian market wants,” Zhivaya said.

Kenyan tea is known for its quality, a characteristic that has earned it the top spot in the global market however it is considered relatively expensive, a factor that has hindered its growth and penetration to new markets.

Russia bought more than 152 million kilograms of tea last year out of which Kenya provided 18 million kilograms, almost a fifth lower than 2015 sales. About 1 million kilograms of the exports was orthodox tea.

Orthodox, a specialty product made from black tea that’s processed by traditional methods of withering, rolling and oxidization unlike regular black tea  which is manufactured through machines that crush, tear and curl the leaves is especially popular in Russia, Iran and Western Europe.

Kenya produced a record 473 million kilograms in 2016; an output that has forced it to find ways of increasing its share of the global market.

Apart from Russia, Kenya has its sights on its traditional markets where it  hopes to expand its market share as well.

“We are in the process of creating strategies to grow our markets in Iran, Sudan, China and Japan.”Ogola added.

It will not be a walk in the park however for Kenya since Sri Lanka and India, the only two countries which surpass Kenyan tea exports to Russia have put in place massive resources in the last 20 years to cement their position.

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