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Zonken Food and Agriculture Ltd, a Chinese firm, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Njeru Industries Ltd, a tea processor based in Meru County in central Kenya, recently to enhance value addition and export of tea to overseas markets.

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

William Zhuo, chairman of the Kenya Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said that under the agreement, Chinese tea experts will be dispatched to Kenya to teach local partners how to add value to tea and boost its competitiveness in the export market.

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

According to Zhuo, the partnership will foster knowledge and technology transfer between China and Kenya, transforming the tea subsector, which contributes about 23 percent to Kenya’s foreign exchange earnings.

Henry Njeru, managing director of Njeru Industries Ltd., said the MoU will facilitate the exchange of skills, technologies and expertise required to add value to Kenyan tea destined for overseas markets.

Acknowledging China’s centuries-old tea heritage, Njeru said that it 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 have green and purple tea. Local manufacturers are looking for new markets, and China is a big market for us,” Njeru said.

Joseph M’eruaki M’uthari, chairman of the Board of Directors at Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service, a state-owned quality assurance agency, praised the partnership between the Kenyan and Chinese firms, saying it will boost diversification and revenues from tea exports.

“Greater access to the Chinese market, courtesy of the agreement, will improve earnings for Kenya’s smallholder tea farmers, besides revitalizing agro-processing in the country,” M’eruaki said. 

Categories: ChinAfrica

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