Category Archives: Kenya tea

Kenya Tea Trade Monopoly Pricing Rejected

The Competition Authority of Kenya has rejected an application for exemption by the East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) to set brokerage commission and warehouse prices. EATTA, which operates the weekly Mombasa Tea Auction, had sought to be exempted from the provisions of section 21 and 22 of the Competition Act No. 12 of 2010 (the Act) on some of its activities for an indefinite period.

The rejection was premised on:

  • The setting of broker fees and commissions under the auspices of the EATTA was a hardcore contravention under Section 22 (1) (b) of the Act as it is a form of price fixing;
  • The setting of brokerage fees was beneficial to the brokers with no express benefits to consumers and tea producers;
  • The Kenyan brokerage fees were higher compared to those in Sri Lanka and India and have remained unchanged for a long period of time;
  • Warehousing is an important element in the tea value chain and that fixing of warehouse fees would undermine innovation and improvement of value preposition to customers given that warehousemen will be assured of the minimum fees set by EATTA. This the Authority concluded that it will encourage inefficiencies in warehousing thus impacting on the trade negatively.

However, the Authority allowed, for a period of three (3) years), the trading to be permitted amongst membership.

Extract from the Kenya Gazette

Other

  • Kenya’s largest foreign exchange earner isn’t tea or tourism but diaspora remittances – @coldtusker
  • During tea processing, 4 kilos of green leaf are required to make one kilo of tea – @dailynation
  • Kenya has the largest tea auction in the world with plans for a tea futures market to get predictability for farmers – Stuart – @INTLFCStone

Tea Farmers Bonuses & KTDA

There was a weekend discussion over this article by the standard which looked at the different prices paid by the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) as tea bonuses to farmers in different parts of the country. KTDA had just announced a record Kshs 84 billion earnings from small holder tea farmers for the year,  a 32%  increase of which 62 billion will be paid out to tea farmers ar a rate of Kshs 50 per kilo on average. (25% covers the costs of production). Few  could believe that farmers in Ketch, the widely accepted centre of Kenya’s tea could earn half of what farmers in other regions get.

ktda-tea-bonus-chart

(source: KTDA site)

The Standard had a  story had headline blame your tea for low pay, South Rift farmers told  and in it

  • Farmers in Kericho and Bomet have complained of low bonuses they expect (South Rift farmers will only receive Kshs 13 billion). KTDA’s region five comprises Kericho and Bomet counties with  seven tea factories and an equal number of satelite factories.  From the region, the highest paying factory, Momul, will give farmers Kshs 35 per kilo of green leaf as bonus, while the lowest paying, Litein and Chelal, will pay Kshs 26 per kilo. In the Eastern region, also known as Region Three, however, the highest paying Munuga Tea Factory will pay suppliers Kshs 48.35 per kilo of green leaves as bonus.
  • A farmer threatened that they would break away from KTDA and establish a new tea auction in Kericho. “There is no doubt that Mombasa Tea Auction is controlled by cartels who manipulate tea prices.
  • Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony says they will source for tea markets in the US, UK, China and West Africa. “Our idea is the direct tea sale concept, which has been tried successfully by the management of Kokchaik Sacco which, through Finlay’s Tea Company, earns $3 (Kshs 303) per kilo. There is no reason at all why KTDA should pay farmers as low as Kshs 26 per kilo of tea as bonus,” says Chepkwony.
  • Richard Cheruiyot, a former KTDA executive operations director, lamented that..there were still numerous taxes and levies being charged on tea (which all amount to about Kshs 6.10 per kilo of tea annually)
tea-pie-chart

(source: KTDA site)

This is not the first time the variance has  been challenged and last year KTDA published a piece explaining the tea bonus calculation:

  • Each factory had a specific rate (bonus) which it pays to its farmers based on the factory directors’ approval.
  • KTDA is a tea marketing agency..owned by smallholder farmers who hold shares in their respective tea factories .. and 560,000 smallholder tea farmers in Kenya are shareholders of KTDA through their factories.
  • It is important to note that farmers receive monthly pay at the rate of Kshs 14 per kilogram of green leaf delivered to the factory in addition to the 2nd payment (bonus).
  • Factories process varied volumes of tea depending on the size of the catchment areas and the volumes of tea produced. This determines factory capacity utilisation and hence cost efficiency.
  • Teas from the factories also fetch different prices at the markets – either through the auction or direct markets. Consumer preferences also affect pricing, with some markets preferring teas from specific factories. The quality of green leaf is further determined by ecological and climatic features such as types of soil and quantity of rainfall, as well as the quality of farm management practices such as application of fertilizer, pruning and plucking. Further, the cost of production varies from factory to factory based on labour and energy efficiencies, cost of credit and investment income.
  • Factories with expansion projects that are financed by loans will incur higher finance costs than those which are not expanding. Given the current interest rates regime, such costs can be substantial. On the other hand, factories with healthy cash flows and which have no need to borrow will ultimately invest their surplus and earn more income. It is this combination of factors that determine what income individual factories pay their farmers.

An older article in the Nation on tea bonuses mentioned:

  • (that) Historically, factories around the Mt Kenya region have fetched higher payments than those in western Kenya based on a skewed marketing concept and buyer preferences at the auction.
  • (also that) Factories west of the Rift Valley are highly indebted to banks for loans to expand processing capacities to match increased acreage.
  • 11 factories in the Western Rift are satellites (do not enjoy full status) which means they cannot market their tea at the weekly Mombasa auction, and neither can they elect directors.

Finally, the 2016 Kenya Economic Survey noted that:

  • The area planted with tea increased by 3.2% from 203 thousand hectares in 2014 to 209 thousand hectares in 2015, primarily from small holders. Despite the increase in area under tea, production decreased significantly by 10.3% from 445.1 thousand tonnes in 2014 to 399.1 thousand tonnes in 2015.
  • The unit price of one Kilogram of tea recorded 42% increase to Kshs 293 in 2015 due to international supply constraints.
  • Tea was the leading source of foreign exchange with revenue from the commodity rising by 31% to Kshs 123 billion in 2015.

$1 = Kshs 101 

Sidian Financing for Entrepreneurs

Some of the Sidian loan products for entrepreneurs include:

  • Retail business loans of Kshs 2 million to Kshs 10 million repayable over 5 years.
  • SME corporate loans of Kshs 10 million to Kshs 300 million, repayable over 8 years.
  • Chama Biashara loans – for members of chamas (investment groups) in which individual members can borrow up to Kshs 500,000 which are guaranteed by their groups.

Lady, #OwnTomorrow

  • Kilimo Plus Micro – for farmers to finance land preparation, inputs, machinery etc.
  • For individuals, there are both (i) emergency loans of up to Kshs 500,000 (repayable in one year) and (ii) check off loans up to Kshs 3 million for salaried employees (that are repayable over 6 years).
  • They also have other loans for medical sector entrepreneurs (MCF Medium) under which the medical assets  purchased can be used as collateral, for water service providers (Maji ni Maisha), for small (e.g. kiosk) entrepreneurs to buy business stocks (Jaza Stock Loan), and for tea farmers (chai loan).

$1 = Kshs 102

Easy Taix

Kenya Agri Exports to the EU take a Hit?

An ad in the September 22 Nation newspaper  has a statement by the European Union addressed to exporters from the East African Community on changes to the tariff regime starting on October 1 owing to the failure of the two sides to sign an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

There was also an article in the same paper showing that a draft has been agreed to, and that a final EPA may be signed and effected in time, but others say it is too late for this.

The new rates, while still subsidized compared to what other nation suppliers pay to export to the EU, are still a blow considering that some exports will no longer be duty-free.

EU Agri

EU newspaper ad

While some like tea, coffee beans & carnations will remain duty-free, Kenyan exporters will pay subsidized rates  of 4.5% on tilapia exports (compared to a normal EU rate of 8%), 2.5% for roast coffee (not 7.5%), 10.9% for mixed vegetables (not 14.4%), and 5% for roses and cut flowers (not 8.5%) between November and May – which includes the crucial Valentine’s Day period when some flower farms can earn half their revenue.

This caps what has been a tough year for Kenya’s  exports of tourism, tea and coffee which have all been adversely affected, and now this.  The recently released Economic Survey 2014 showed total exports declined by 3% from Kshs 518 billion in 2012 to Kshs 502 billion in 2013 (as per the Devolution Cabinet Secretary).

Kenya will  qualify for the preferential (GSP) tariffs, while Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania are currently considered under “least developed countries” and most of their exports to the EU will qualify for a unilateral 0% tariff.

 

Shares Portfolio May 2010

A rising tide lifts all boats

Tracking changes from three months and a year ago

The Stable


Diamond Trust ↑
Kenya Airways ↑
KCB ↓
Scangroup ↑
Stanbic (Uganda) ↑
Uchumi ↔
Performance: Portfolio is down 2% in value from February after exit from Safaricom which was about 10% of Portfolio, while the NSE is up 18% since February 2010
In/Out: Exited Safaricom completely, after accumulating shares since the 2008 IPO. One of the most liquid stock at the NSE, with lot of foreigner interest, and one I will buy back later
Increase/decrease: None
Best performer Diamond Trust and Scangroup, each up 23%
Worst performer: KCB down 6%

Events
Unexpected Gains/Losses
– Uchumi lifting itself out of receivership and applying for re-listing at the Nairobi Stock Exchange
– The communication spat pitting Safaricom versus the three other mobile companies, and another Scangroup buyout deal, both featured in this post here.

Other events
– The Housing Finance merger dance with Equity Bank here
– Another share split announced by Kenol Kobil (2nd time in six years)

Looking forward to
– Dividend payments expected from Diamond Trust, KCB, Scangroup, Stanbic (Uganda)
– @coldtusker says to watch kapchorua Tea at 140, Kenol at 93.5, Kenya Airways 56, and KPLC 185 and compare 6 months from now while Riba Capital is watching tea stocks, KPLC and Housing Finance.