Why Pakistanis drinking less tea concerns Kenya

Why Pakistanis drinking less tea concerns Kenya

  • The decision to consume less tea among the Pakistanis is yet to become an official position by the government even as Pakistan toys with ideas to cut its high import bill.
  • Last week, a senior government minister in the country suggested that sipping a few cups of tea a day would cut the high import bill and serve to curb the recent fall in Pakistan’s store of hard currency.

A drop in the consumption of tea in Pakistan would have a direct hit locally, with the South Asia country being the top buyer of Kenyan tea.

The decision to consume less tea among the Pakistanis is yet to become an official position by the government even as Pakistan toys with ideas to cut its high import bill.

Last week, a senior government minister in the country suggested that sipping a few cups of tea a day would cut the high import bill and serve to curb the recent fall in Pakistan’s store of hard currency.

Kenya, a net exporter of tea, would stand to lose from the lesser sipping of tea among Pakistanis with Pakistan representing the world’s largest importer of tea.

“Any reduction would lead to lower tea prices because of the reduced demand for teas at auction,” Edward Mudibo, the Managing Director at the East African Tea Traders Association (EATTA) which runs the Mombasa tea auction, told Citizen Digital.

According to Mudibo, EATTA is engaging its Pakistani equivalent, the Pakistan Tea Association, as it hopes tea consumption is spared from the country’s austerity measures.

“Our take is that we would encourage them to look for other means as tea is not only a beverage but also a popular and highly sought food item in Pakistan,” he added.

On average Pakistanis consume between two and three cups of tea every day.

Many in Pakistan have however seen humor in the proposal, with most doubting whether sipping less tea would be a solution to the country’s serious financial challenges.

According to EATTA export figures at the end of 2019, Pakistan bought 176.4 million kilos of tea from the Mombasa auction to represent 35.5 per cent of the total 496.8 million kilos of teas sold during the year.

Tea is one of Kenya’s largest Forex earners with tea earnings estimated at Ksh.130.9 billion in 2021, according to data contained in the 2022 Economic Survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

Further, the data shows Kenya exported a total of 557,351 tonnes of tea in the calendar year.

Other top destinations for Kenyan teas include Egypt, the United Kingdom, UAE, Sudan, Russia, Yemen and Afghanistan.

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