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October 08, 2011

Kenya auction tea sales down 9 pct Jan-Sept 2011

Kenya's tea auction sales dipped 9 percent to 249.3 million kilograms in the first nine months of 2011, statistics from Africa Tea Brokers showed on October 4. The auction handled 273.8 million kgs of tea leaves during the same period last year.

Tea bushes across most of east Africa have suffered this year due to a devastating drought but high prices for the best quality Kenyan tea have benefited sales.

The weekly auction handles tea leaves from at least 10 eastern and southern African countries. Other producers selling through the Kenyan auction are Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar.

Kenya, the world's biggest exporter of black tea, accounted for 181.4 million kgs, or 72.8 percent, of the total auction sales. It was followed by Uganda with 36.2 million kgs.

Lipton Limited -- part of food and consumer goods group Unilever -- maintained the leading buyer position. It bought 50.9 million kgs, down from 52.5 million in the first nine months of 2010.

Regulator Tea Board of Kenya estimates total tea output this year will fall by 34 million kgs to 365 million, but the country could rake in earnings of about 106 billion shillings, up 9 percent from a year earlier.


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