Kenya’s tea exports to Ireland continue to rise with volumes growing more than three fold in the first month of the year as a result of direct purchases of the commodity after Brexit.
Data from the Tea Directorate indicate that volumes bought by Ireland in January rose to 433,440 kilogrammes from 133,071 kilogrammes in corresponding period last year, an increase of 226 percent.
There have been uncertainties over the status of the border point between Britain and Ireland upon Brexit.
The UK is a major re-exporter of tea and it buys the commodity from Kenya to resell to other countries, with Ireland being one of its major buyers.
Before Brexit, goods and services moved between the two countries with few restrictions as UK and Ireland have been part of the EU’s single market and customs union, so products did not need to be inspected for customs or standards.
Britain exited the European Union membership at the end of last month.
But that is expected to change after Brexit as the two parts of Ireland are now in different customs and regulatory regimes, which could mean products being checked at the border.
East Africa Tea Traders Association managing director Edward Mudibo said Brexit could be part of the reason for the spike in Irish tea buys, though they need to observe the trend in the coming months.
“We may not rule out Brexit but we need to do computation over a period of time in order to identify the dynamics leading to increase in purchases,” said Mr Mudibo.
He added that Ireland’s tea consumption was among the highest in the world with a per capita of two kilogramme per person.
“The Irish are good takers of tea and perhaps they want more of it from Kenya, which is known for producing one of the best beverages,” he said.The directorate has listed Ireland as one of the emerging markets whose purchases from Kenya have been going up.