Kenya last year sold tea to 71 countries compared with previous 61 markets but earnings still dipped by Sh23 billion.
The diversification to other markets was aimed at boosting the price for the major foreign exchange earner but it was weighed down by low prices at the auction.
“The export earnings decreased from Sh140 billion recorded in 2018 to Sh117 billion. Lower earnings were attributed to low auction prices,” said Head of Agriculture Food Authority Anthony Muriithi.
Auction prices fell from an average of Sh260 per kilogramme recorded in 2018 to Sh224 for the same quantity in the review period.
Emerging markets that recorded significantly higher tea imports included Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ireland, Iran, India, Poland, Netherlands, Somalia, Turkey, Indonesia and Jordan.
Pakistan remained the leading destination importing 177.7 million kilogrammes, accounting for 36 percent of the total export volume.
The top 10 export destinations, which consist of both traditional and emerging markets, accounted for 85 percent of Kenya tea export volume.
In the review period, a total of 40 million kilogrammes were consumed locally against 38 million kilogrammes in 2018. Local consumption has been growing consistently at an average five percent per annum for the last five years.
Domestic sales increased from Sh15 billion to Sh18 billion. The Directorate says growth in local consumption is attributed to intensive promotion by brand owners and support by government through the local generic promotion initiatives to position Kenya tea as the preferred beverage of choice globally.
Made tea production for the year was 458.85 million kilogrammes, 6.95 percent lower compared to 492.99 million kilogrammes recorded in 2018.