NAIROBI – Rising prices for Kenyan tea and coffee exports will help offset the impact from a drought that has been hurting the country’s agriculture after poor rains late last year, according to officials and traders.
The average price of coffee rose 30 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year from a year earlier, driving up total earnings by 69 per cent in the period.
The average tea price has risen 10 per cent this year compared to a year ago. Farming accounts for more than a quarter of the country’s annual economic output of $62 billion. Coffee and tea exports are a major source of foreign exchange earnings.
Agriculture principal secretary Richard Lesiyampe said farmers have been hurt by low rainfall during the usual October to December “short rains”.
“Because of the depressed rainfall, definitely we are going to have a challenge on all our crops, including the cash crops. The short rains failed us,” he said.
But he said improving coffee and tea prices at the locally held auctions help offset impact.
The Nairobi Coffee Exchange reported a 30 per cent jump in average coffee prices year-on-year to $228.64 per 50kg bag in the three months to end of December.
“We have seen an upsurge,” said Daniel Mbithi, the CEO of the exchange, attributing the rise to high quality beans and depressed output from Brazil and other rivals. Agencies.
The value of coffee sold at the exchange in the last quarter of 2016 rose 69 per cent to $25.70 million (Sh2.6 billion) from a year before.