October 1, 2012 / 6:18 AM / 7 years ago

Kenya FY tea earnings seen up, output to drop

A worker picks tea at a plantation in Githunguri, 30 km (18 miles) from Kenya's capital Nairobi, January 6, 2012. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya’s tea export earnings are expected to rise 1 percent year on year to 110 billion shillings in 2012, despite a forecast drop in production, the industry regulator said on Monday.

The Tea Board of Kenya said production was expected to fall by 5 percent to 360 million kgs this year, after frost and delayed rains hurt growth of tea bushes earlier in the year.

“We have experienced severe weather conditions during the first few months of the year,” Sicily Kariuki, the board’s managing director, told a news conference.

Tea exports from the east African country, the world’s leading black tea exporter, fell 6.5 percent to 214.4 million kg in the January-August period from the same period in 2011. Earnings fell to 70.2 billion shillings from 72.4 billion shillings.

Tea, horticulture, tourism and diaspora remittances are the country’s top foreign exchange earners.

Kariuki said Kenyan tea fetched an average $3.15 per kg in the January-August period, up from $3 in the same period in 2011.

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