A major newspaper in Pakistan on Monday, April 9, raised concerns over the need for the country to import tea from Kenya.
Dawn made the remarks barely three weeks after Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mithika Linturi revealed that Kenya had sealed a major deal with the Pakistani government.
In their piece, Dawn claimed that tea imported from Kenya was not worth the exorbitant price it was being charged.
“The increase in its price by 3x over the last decade, according to data by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), hits wallets harder than people realise,” the newspaper wrote about why many people in the country would soon stop taking tea.
According to PBS, a cup of tea in Pakistan was costing Ksh7 in 2012 but rose exponentially to Ksh23 in 2023.
With the minimum wage in the country pegged at Ksh7100, Dawn was worried that citizens were spending up to 30 per cent of their salary on tea.
The paper further complained that the tea bought from Kenya did not warrant such a price.
“The imported tea from Kenya is blended to create each brand's distinctive taste and strength. The rest is all marketing,” the paper wrote.
Pakistan imports tea worth Ksh68 billion annually; according to Dawn, this was not sustainable for the country.
“If the entire country forwent drinking tea for two years, the amount saved would be roughly equal to the last tranche of the International Monetary Fund loan that the country is desperately trying for,” the newspaper pointed the need for the country to cut down its caffeine addiction.
Alternatively, Dawn suggested that the country can explore growing tea locally instead of importing from Kenya.
The issue came up three weeks after Linturi on Friday, March 17, announced Kenya had scored a major deal with the Pakistani Government.
This was after the Pakistan government classified tea as an essential import commodity and the Pakistan Central Bank approved the use of US dollars as the transaction currency in the tea business.
“I am excited to announce that our recent trip to Islamabad bore fruits in barely three weeks. I wish to thank the Pakistan government for accepting our requests during the trip,” the CS announced back then.
Pakistan imports over 45 per cent of Kenyan Tea, making it Kenya’s largest trade partner in the tea sector.