Despite the fact that Kenya’s tea industry is relatively new, the country has become third largest producer of the beverage in last few decades only. Critically analyze the geographical factors that have played role in this?
Tea was introduced in Kenya in 1904 and real start of the Kenya tea industry happened only after 1950s. Today’s it is third largest producer of tea (after China and India) and largest tea producer of Africa. It is also one of the largest exporters of the tea around the world. UK imports half of its tea from Kenya; while Pakistan is biggest buyer of Kenya tea via the Mombasa auction. Almost all the tea produced by Kenya is black tea; and produced with Cut-Tear-Curl (CTC) method.
The geographical factors have played important role in making Kenya a big player in tea industry. Its tea is newer and brisker as the soil there gives it different characteristics. Kenya is located right on equator which allows it to produce tea all year long; and thus production is non-seasonal in Kenya. The more we go away from equator, more seasonal tea we see. Thus, Kenya’s tea growing regions are endowed with ideal climate; tropical, volcanic red soils; well distributed rainfall ranging between 1200 mm to 1400mm per annum; long sunny days etc. Further, economic and human geography has also played role into kenya’s tea success story. The availability of cheap labour and less domestic demand allow it to produce more and export more. Though China and India are largest producer, but they are also largest drinkers of tea, thus not able to export much of their production.