The takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban must still affect tea exports to this country, as most of the goods still reach Kabul via the open Pakistani border.
The East African Tea Traders Association (Eatta) said Afghanistan still sources most of its drink from Pakistan, the leading buyer of Kenya‘s tea.
Eatta managing director Edward Mudibo added that there were no reports of payment problems and that tea trade with Pakistan was going smoothly despite the close combat in neighboring Afghanistan.
“Our exports to Afghanistan have not been interrupted at all because the exporters get their payments well and Kabul can get tea from Pakistan even because of the open border,” he said.
Afghanistan bought about Ksh 2 billion ($ 18 million) of tea last year to be among the top 15 buyers of Kenyan tea. The raw material makes up more than 50 percent of Kenyan exports to the Asian country.
Kenya’s exports to Afghanistan are from highs of 14 billion Ksh (127 million the governments of the two post-Taliban presidents of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani.
The Taliban’s recapture of the Afghan capital, Kabul, a week ago – 20 years since it was overthrown by US-led forces in 2001 – is expected to negatively affect trade with Kenya.
Kenya’s other exports to Afghanistan include coffee, mate, spices, pharmaceuticals, rubber, textiles, edible vegetables, and machinery.
The decline in Kenya’s total exports to Afghanistan coincided with an atmosphere of uncertainty about difficult security, political and economic changes that has permeated the country since early 2013.