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Growing the profile of small-scale tea farmers on the global stage
For the 2019 World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Absa has collaborated with the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), the East African country’s leading agency for small scale tea farmers and a client of the bank.
Kenya is the one of the top three largest exporters of tea globally and is well-known for some of the best quality black tea in the world – but the industry hasn’t always had the smoothest history. Until Kenya gained its independence in 1964, indigenous Kenyans were forbidden by law from growing tea.
The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) was started when the country became independent and the legislation was revoked. Its key objective was to promote and foster the growth of the tea industry – with particular focus on small tea growers.
Small-scale farmers are widely recognised as the backbone of the Kenyan – and regional – economy. Kenya has one of the highest agricultural productivity rates in the East African Community (EAC): 70 percent of the country’s exports have an agricultural focus and the sector employs 75 percent of the rural workforce.
KTDA has overwhelmingly delivered on the mandate to grow the profile of Kenya’s small-scale tea farmers on the global stage. It has grown into one of the largest private tea management agencies and currently manages 68 factories in the small-scale tea sub-sector in Kenya. The growth of the industry saw the agency privatized in 2000, and it has continued to go from strength to strength.
Another core focus for the agency is conservation and sustainability. The KTDA Foundation runs a “Greening Kenya” programme that works to improve environmental conservation and boost nutrition for school children. The Foundation also grants secondary scholarships to talented and underprivileged students from KTDA tea-growing areas.
This will remain a priority for KTDA going forward as it continues to build the impeccable reputation of Kenyan tea around the world underpinned by its core values of being customer focused, having the highest standards and ethical practices, prioritising social responsibility, innovation, team work and being an equal opportunity employer.
Did you know?
Tea is the world’s second most widely consumed beverage - coming in behind only water.
Kenya is third on the top 10 global tea producers list after China and India, producing 473 000 tonnes of tea annually.
Tea is the country's chief single commodity foreign exchange earner.
Kenyan tea production has doubled over the past 20 years.
Kenya’s largest export destination is Pakistan.
About 60 percent of the tea in Kenya is produced by small-scale farmers.
Kenyan black tea has higher levels of antioxidants than teas from other parts of the world.
Kenyan tea has a distinct bright colour and aromatic flavour, thanks to the country's tropical climate and rich volcanic soils.
Kenya is home to one of the three major international tea auction houses. It’s located in Mombasa, with the other two in Colombo, Sri Lanka and Kolkata, India.
Absa Group Limited | Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa | Registration number: 1986/003934/06 | Authorised financial services and registered credit provider (NCRCP7) | JSE share code: ABG | ISIN: ZAE000255915