Shortage of dollars hit Sudan tea sales

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Tea exports to Khartoum have been hit by a shortage of dollars following a coup this month, with traders grappling with delayed payments for deliveries.

East African Tea Traders Association managing director Edward Mudibo said there have been delays in payment as unavailability of dollars hit the Sudanese market.

“Our tea sales to Sudan has not been disrupted following the coup. However, traders have experienced a serious shortage of dollars in Sudan that has delayed payment to traders,” Mr Mudibo told the Business Daily in an interview.

Sudan remains one of the key markets for Kenya’s tea earning the country more than Sh5 billion in the last three years.

In January the country bought 1.14 million kilogrammes of tea, which was a rise from 631,859 it bought in the corresponding period last year.

Sudan has been on a meltdown since it lost oil-rich South Sudan, subsequently leading to the current political turmoil.

The coup had disrupted Kenya’s businesses in Sudan with Kenya Airways cancelling flights after the closure of Khartoum International Airport by the Ministry of Defence shortly after the military announced that it had taken over the government.

The national carrier has resumed flights to Khartoum since.

The cancellation saw passengers who were due to travel on April 11 by KQ348 from Nairobi to Sudan and KQ349 from Khartoum to Nairobi miss flights.

Kenya’s tea was last month given an extension to access the Sudanese market without restrictions following the lapse of the one-year window as the two nations continue to address the issue of standards.

The two countries have been at loggerheads in the last three years over the expiry date of the Kenyan tea, prompting joint scientific research to determine the actual sell-by date of the beverage.

Whereas Kenya argues that tea takes three years on the shelf, Sudan has maintained that the duration is one-and-half years.

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