Tanzania launches tea auction to rival that of regional giant Kenya

By John Muchira in Nairobi November 17, 2023

Tanzania has launched an online tea auction in a move aimed at boosting farmers' earnings and increasing the value of its tea on the global market.

In a move that will have a significant impact on neighbouring Kenya’s Mombasa Tea Auction, Tanzania contends that the launch of its own auction system is critical in transforming the domestic industry.

The move ultimately means that the East African nation will stop exporting its tea through the port of Mombasa in Kenya, the region's top seller.

Media outlet The Standard quoted Tea Board of Tanzania director general Mary Kipeja as saying that the tea auction would establish the country as a central hub for neighbouring tea-producing countries to trade their goods.

“Apart from minimising market costs, the tea auction is going to be a part and parcel of the implementation of the local content agenda, therefore empowering Tanzanians economically,” she said.

Kipeja added that the auction is going to significantly change the income of large and small-scale growers because costs incurred for tea transporting to Mombasa will now be used for strengthening and improving productivity.

The auction is expected to open markets for over 65 tons of tea at the ports of Dar es Salaam and Tanga in Tanzania.

Ten processors have already signed contracts with brokers with seven others being in the process of finalising agreement documents.

In recent years, Tanzania has recorded a decline in tea exports and earnings after raking in $12.2mn after exporting 7,875 tons in the 2022/23 financial year. During the 2020/21 financial year, the country exported 24,000 tons earning $39mn.

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