Nairobi— Kenya, the world’s biggest exporter of black tea, expects production of the leaves to rise about 20% by the end of the decade,
as farmers harvest from new bushes, according to the industry regulator. Output is projected to jump to 500,000 tonnes in 2020 from a projected 412,000 tonnes in 2017, after a drought damaged plants in most growing areas, said Samuel Ogola, head of the Tea Directorate.
Most regions in Kenya received below 75% of their seasonal long-term average between March and May, according to the nation’s meteorological department. "There is a lot of replanting of tea by farmers, which could see us hitting 500-million in no time, most probably by 2020," Ogola said Tuesday in an interview in the capital, Nairobi. Farmers have been replacing old bushes with higher-yielding clones, he said. Tea is Kenya’s second-biggest source of foreign-currency earnings after remittances from citizens living abroad.