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Modern technology key to boosting Kenya's tea output: experts

A worker from a tea company tastes tea samples in Mombasa, Kenya, Jan. 19, 2021. (Xinhua/Joy Nabukewa)

Kenyan tea farmers and traders should embrace modern technology to boost production, African experts said Monday.

NAIROBI, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan tea farmers and traders should embrace modern technology to boost production, African experts said Monday.

Ebrima Sall, the executive director of Trust Africa, said that all stakeholders stand to reap maximum profit from the cash crop once modern technologies are adopted. "It has reached the time that old machinery that has been used for centuries be abandoned to help stakeholders improve efficiency in tea production and be able to supply the market in good time," Sall said at a forum in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

Sall noted that with the adverse effects of climate change, players in the tea value chain must embrace sustainable agricultural systems. He called upon key stakeholders to borrow and implement good practices that have been adopted by tea producers in the Asian continent.

Edward Mudibo, the managing director of the East Africa Tea Trade Association, called for the enactment of a conducive policy environment in the country to save producers and other players in the sub-sector from exploitation.

Mudibo noted that the policy will also help solve the burden of heavy taxation that is levied on Kenyan tea from production to export. He said that heavy-duty is imposed on Kenyan tea through the Integrated Customs Management System.

A farmer picks tea leaves at a tea garden in Nairobi, Kenya, Aug. 4, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Yan)

During the Nairobi forum, delegates resolved to develop an all-inclusive national structured platform that includes producers, packers, and buyers with the aim of embracing modern technology.

In addition, participants agreed to advocate for the enactment of the national tea policy to safeguard the production and sale of tea products locally and in the international market.

Kenya is a leading exporter of black tea worldwide, and tea is a major earner of foreign exchange alongside remittances, horticulture and tourism.

The participants also agreed to engage youth in the sub-sector as well as embark on value addition to market their products while urging African governments to develop a policy on the land tenure system and stop the sub-division of land into smaller pieces that threaten tea production. ■