Rain may lift Kenyan tea output

09:32, January 12, 2010      

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Kenya, the world's biggest grower of black tea, may see a 10 percent rise in output of the leaves in January following torrential rains that have fallen since December, said Peter Kegode, an agricultural economist.

Tea and coffee require a lot of water and won't be washed away because they are deep-rooted, Kegode, who advises sugar, dairy and tea industry associations, said in a phone interview from Nairobi. "There has been above-average rain in tea- and coffee-growing areas. There should be 10 percent increase in tea production," he said.

Tea production will increase immediately because the leaves are picked daily, Kegode said, while this won't be the case for coffee as January isn't its flowering season.

At least 18 people died and 520,000 were displaced in the East African nation over the first week of this year because of flash floods following more than three years of drought, the Kenyan Red Cross Society said. Kenyan tea production fell to the lowest since 2004 during the first nine months of 2009 as the water shortage hindered growth, the Kenyan Tea Board said.

Production by the Kenya Tea Development Agency, the country's biggest grower and exporter of tea, is forecast to rise to 84 million kg of green leaf from 81 million kg a year earlier, it said.

Source: China Daily
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