Kenya benefitted from a weaker shilling and global weather shocks to earn more than $1.32 billion from tea and coffee exports last year despite a decline in the quantities exported.
Exports of the two commodities gained from a depreciation of the Kenya shilling, which had lost ground to hit lows of $1.13 as at the end of last year.
Freezing due to bad weather at the world’s leading coffee grower, Brazil, led to a seven-year price high last year to trade at $1.70 per pound from $1.50 in 2020, according to the New York Exchange, which is used as a benchmark for all world prices.
Kenya earned $213 million from coffee between January and November 2021, with the value surpassing the entire 2020 earnings that stood at $196 million according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data.
During the 2021 trading period, Kenya’s coffee prices ranged from $4 to $6.3 up from $2.5 to $5.9 in 2020.
Despite the rise in earnings, the quantity of coffee exported declined as production continued to dwindle for the second consecutive year.
Kenya exported 35,163 metric tonnes (MT) of coffee in the first 11 months of 2021, a decline from 40,980 MT in a similar period in 2020, with statistics indicating Kenya exports an average of 2,500 MT of coffee a month. This means the export quantities in 2021 would not surpass the 2020 figures.
Kenya is the fifth largest producer of the coffee in Africa behind Ethiopia (7.38 million bags), Uganda (5.62 million bags), Ivory Coast (1.78 million bags) and Tanzania (913,000 bags).
Kenya’s tea export earnings grew by $141.2 million, representing 13.3 percent increment.
The Tea Board of Kenya puts earnings at $1.2 billion last year when compared with $1.06 billion in 2020, with total export volumes standing at 558 million kilogrammes last year against 518 million kilogrammes in 2020.
Earnings from local tea consumption declined to $168 million against $177 million realised a year earlier. This year, the Mombasa Tea auction has seen an increase in prices compared to last year.