Chinese, Kenyan companies sign agreement to promote tea value addition and exports

NAIROBI, June 8 (Xinhua) — Zonken Food and Agriculture Ltd, a Chinese company, on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding with Njeru Industries Ltd, a tea processor based in Meru County, central Kenya, to improve value addition and export of tea to foreign markets.

The signing of the MoU took place on the sidelines of the ninth edition of the Nairobi International Cultural Festival, which was held in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. One of the highlights of the festival was the showcase of China’s rich tea heritage.

William Zhuo, president of the Kenya Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said under the agreement, Chinese tea experts will be sent to Kenya to teach local partners how to add value to tea and strengthen its competitiveness on the export market.

“The MoU between Zonken Food and Agriculture Ltd and Njeru Industries Ltd will bring more value to tea and export more to China,” Zhuo said. “We would like to use Chinese tea technology with the high quality leaves from Kenya to create the best tea and export it to China and other parts of the world.”

According to Zhuo, the partnership will promote the transfer of knowledge and technology between China and Kenya, transforming the tea sub-sector, which contributes about 23 percent of Kenya’s foreign exchange earnings.

Henry Njeru, Managing Director of Njeru Industries Ltd., said the MoU will facilitate the exchange of skills, technology and expertise needed to add value to Kenyan tea for foreign markets.

Acknowledging the centuries-old heritage of Chinese tea, Njeru said this could offer lessons to Kenya on how to produce and blend different varieties that promise better health outcomes for consumers. “We have a lot to learn from the Chinese market and our Chinese counterparts on how to produce different teas. They offer green tea and purple tea. Local manufacturers are looking for new markets and China is an important market for us,” Njeru said.

Joseph M’eruaki M’uthari, chairman of the board of Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service, a state-run quality assurance agency, welcomed the partnership between Kenyan and Chinese companies, saying it will boost diversification and revenue from tea exports.

“Better access to the Chinese market, through this agreement, will improve the income of Kenya’s small-scale tea producers, while revitalizing agribusiness in the country,” M’eruaki said.

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