The Kenya Tea Development Agency will have 11 of its factories producing orthodox teas by the end of this year to meet increasing demand for the specially prepared tea in new markets.
KTDA Chairman Peter Kanyago said the agency is investing Sh100 million in each of the eight factories to start orthodox tea production in addition to the three that are already in operation.
He mentioned new markets in Iran, Russia, Estonia and most of Europe as among those that have spurred demand for the tea. Kenya has traditionally processed its black tea through the cut tear and curl process but the orthodox tea is processed through a curling process.
The move comes when tea production has dropped to between 50 and 60 per cent of the 2016 levels due to hot weather but Kanyago said prices are looking good. He spoke yesterday during the AGM of the Gathuthi Tea Factory in Nyeri.
The Chairman reported that the Gura hydroelectric power station developed by the agency to help its factories cut down on their power bills is already working and connected to Chinga, Iriaini and Gathuthi tea factories, and studies were on to determine if it was feasible to connect Ragati too.
He said the Agency has chosen to connect the factories directly, rather than sell the power to Kenya Power Company, because the prices offered were a disadvantage to the factories.