Tea prices at the Mombasa auction slid to a five-month low last week in the worst performance since the beginning of the year.
A market report from the East African Tea Traders Association (Eatta) showed a kilo of beverage traded at Sh198 on average from Sh202 previously.
Depressed prices saw 13 percent of the stocks offered for sale withdrawn from the market. This is the highest quantity to have been taken off the trading floor in the last three months.
Eatta said 1.7 million kilogrammes of tea was withdrawn by sellers in anticipation of high prices.
Last week’s trading recorded an increase in volume to 13.3 million kilos from 11.6 million.
Kenya Tea Development Agency, which manages smallholders produce, has warned that growers are staring at low earnings this year because of poor performance at the auction.
“Prices in the run up to the end of the 2019/20 financial year will be critical in determining farmers’ earnings in the wake of a subdued performance in the 2018/19 financial year,” said the agency. Decline in prices has been attributed to volumes of green leaf, which rose by four percent in the review period.